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Archive for the ‘Sappho’ Category

Last Tuesday, Stefanie over at So Many Books reviewed If Not, Winter: Fragments of Sappho, translated by Anne Carson and I immediately placed a hold on it at the library.  I’ve come across bits of Sappho before, scattered in random texts, and have always been intrigued, meaning to pick up a full volume devoted to her.  Here, finally, was my chance.

As Carson tell us in the introduction, “of the nine books of lyrics Sappho is said to have composed, one poem has survived complete.  All the rest are fragments” (p. ix).  The fragments as they appear here range from almost complete verses to only one or two words.  It’s the shortest fragments that are perhaps the most intriguing, the briefest phrases that have no context and which tempt you to imagine the story around them.

It’s a beautiful collection: romantic, nostalgic, thoughtful…Rather than attempt to analyse them here, I’ll leave you with a few of my favourites.  May you spend your Sunday as I have mine, dreaming about ‘many and beautiful things.’

24A

you will remember

for we in our youth

            did these things

yes many and beautiful things

36

 

I long and seek after

 

54

 

having come from heaven wrapped in a purple cloak

 

120

 

            but I am not someone who likes to wound

rather I have a quiet mind

 

 

125

 

I used to weave crowns

 

 

147

 

someone will remember us

                                    I say

                                    even in another time

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