from Sappho

you burn edge beautiful lightening gifted
be bright girls be stunning song be sing colour cut

my was body lithe's a grand oak failing
winter white is all I've now

my heart carries heavy remember my knees carry nothing
in spring I danced the swiftest brightest swan

now I sting & slope but what's to do
not to age be human that's madness fantasy

even sunbright dawn itself will die
when sunstun nova burns our world away

& this bright creation slopes cold
to fade to empty this universe itself decease

Martin West's literal translation of the recently rediscovered
Sappho poem is published in June 21st's Times Literary Supplement.

image: poem


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