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Sappho

Although they are

Although they are
only breath, words
which I command
are immortal

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Standing by my bed

Standing by my bed
in gold sandals
Dawn that very
moment awoke me

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Without warning

Without warning
as a whirlwind
swoops on an oak
Love shakes my heart

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It is the Muses

It is the Muses
who have caused me
to be honred: they
taught me their craft

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Tell everyone

Tell everyone
now, today, I shall
sing beautifully for
my friends' pleasure

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Before they were mothers

Before they were mothers
Leto and Niobe
had been the most
devoted of friends

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We shall enjoy it

We shall enjoy it
as for him who finds
fault, may silliness
and sorrow take him!

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Words

Although they are
only breath, words
which I command
are immortal

Sappho
tr. Barnard

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You may forget but

You may forget but
let me tell you
this: someone in
some future time
will think of us

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* * *

Eros seizes and shakes my very soul
like the wind on the mountain
shaking ancient oaks.

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