On your dazzling throne, Aphrodite


On your dazzling throne, Aphrodite,
sly eternal daughter of Zeus,
I beg you: do not crush me
with grief

but come to me now–as once
you heard my far cry, and yielded,
slipping from your
father's house

to yoke the birds to your gold
chariot, and came. Handsome sparrows
brought you swiftly to
the dark earth,

their wings whipping the middle sky.
Happy, with deathless lips, you smiled:
"What is wrong, Sappho, why have
you called me?

What does your mad heart desire?
Whom shall I make love you,
who is turning her back
on you?

Let her run away, soon she'll chase you;
refuse your gifts, soon she'll give them.
She will love you, though
unwillingly."

Then come to me now and free me
from fearful agony. Labor
for my mad heart, and be
my ally.


       Greek; trans. Willis Barnstone


Sappho, Greek, trans. Willis Barnstone.