Wednesday, April 29, 2015

[It's no use / Mother dear] - Sappho

translated by Mary Barnard

It's no use

Mother dear, I
can't finish my
          You may
blame Aphordite

soft as she is

she has almost
killed me with
love for that boy

A simple dialogue between a girl and her mother.  The girl has to set her weaving aside, unfinished, because love burns too strongly within her.  She's unable to keep her mind upon any one task, for she is almost "killed" with love.  The way it's put is elegant in its simplicity and directness.  Sappho has understandably become a legendary figure, and sometimes the facts of her life are mixed with legend.  I'd encourage you to take in a brief biography here to get some better background than what I can provide.


  1. Why does it say "boy"? Sappho loved women, and other translators have translated it as "woman"or "girl".