To one who loved not poetry:


Sappho, Drexel University, Philadelphia

“THOU liest dead, and there will be no memory left behind

Of thee or thine in all the earth, for never didst thou bind

The roses of Pierian streams upon thy brow; thy doom

Is now to flit with unknown ghosts in cold and nameless gloom.”

to one who loved not poetry, Sappho, translated by Edwin Arnold


“I think that in some later Spring,

Echo will bear to men these songs we sing.”

— Sappho, fragment

Posted on October 5, 2011, in Art and Theater, History, Poetry, Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink. 2 Comments.

  1. Well, those are translations, and it is hard to tell much about the poetics of Sappho from that. What rhymes or rythmns are there in the Ancient Greek I wouldn’t know.

    The sentiment is clear, and the faith in the power of words and their meaning to last through the ages shines triumphantly. As long as her poems are still heard, they will continue to build new statues to her.

    As a matter of fact, I think that the survival of her poetry through the ages is an argument against your point. After translation into an entirely different tongue, all of the structure and nuances of language are lost, and only the thoughts themselves have truly survived–reworded and resung to a new tune–so that what we have left is not the craft so much as the mind and soul itself; the things that mattered to her and how she felt about them.


  2. There’s a reason today that many do not like poetry – it doesn’t have the characteristics or quality of Sappho’s lines that you posted. I wrote a poem about that –


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