Poem Sappho

A Prayer to Aphrodite

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On your dappled throne, Aphrodite—deathless,
ruse-devising daughter of Zeus: O Lady,
never crush my spirit with pain and needless
sorrow, I beg you.

Rather come—if ever some moment, years past,
hearing from afar my despairing voice, you
listened, left your father’s great golden halls, and
came to my succor,

Yoking sparrows, lovely and swift, to drive down,
leaving heaven, chariot sailing mid- sky
over black earth, feather-thick wings densely
beating the clear air—

Quick arrival. You, O my Blessed Goddess,
ageless lips then beautifully smiling at me,
asked me what had caused me such pain and made me
cry out again now:

“What’s the secret wish of your crazy, wild heart?
Whom must Love compel with Her wily ruses
back into the glittering net of your arms?
Sappho, who hurts you?

If she flees, she’ll follow you soon as I say.
If she snubs your gifts, she will give you much more
If she loves you not, then I swear she will love—
Even unwilling.”

Come to me now, free me from bitter worry,
all I long for, deep in my spirit— do it!
You yourself be, here on this field of battle,
Sappho’s lone ally.

Afroditi of the Flowers at Knossos
Ziyi Song


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