Love Poems

The daily El País published a post to call for love poems (Las mejores poesías de amorThe best love poems). In the splendid blogging machinery, the one post is hosting now over one hondred comments, each with a different poem. I loved the idea and I posted my own comment with a little verse from one of my beloved poets, the ancient, sweet-smiling Sappho, who lived around 600 BC in the island of Lesbos. I was such a fan of Sappho that I went in pilgrimage to her island, when I was 20 years old. This is the poem I posted (in Spanish):

Cuasi Ventus
Amor ha agitado mis entrañas como el huracán que sacude monte abajo las encinas. Viniste. Hiciste bien. Yo te estaba aguardando. Has prendido fuego a mi corazón, que se abrasa de deseo.

Love has stirred my heart as the hurricane that shakes the oaks downhill. You came. Well done. I was waiting for you. You have my heart set on fire, and it burns with desire.

But I’m posting here a few others of her so modern fragments.

Igual parece a los eternos Dioses
quien logra verse frente a ti sentado.
¡Feliz si goza tu palabra suave,
Suave tu risa!

A mí en el pecho el corazón se oprime
Sólo en mirarte; ni la voz acierta
De mi garganta a prorrumpir, y rota
Calla la lengua.

Fuego sutil dentro de mi cuerpo todo
Presto discurre; los inciertos ojos
Vagan sin rumbo; los oídos hacen
Ronco zumbido.

Cúbrome toda de sudor helado;
Pálida quedo cual marchita yerba;
Y ya sin fuerzas, sin aliento, inerte,
Muerta parezco.

De: http://www.instantesdeficcion.com.ar/Inmortales/Safo.htm

He’s equal with the Gods, that man
Who sits across from you,
Face to face, close enough, to sip
Your voice’s sweetness,

And what excites my mind,
Your laughter, glittering. So,
When I see you, for a moment,
My voice goes,

My tongue freezes. Fire,
Delicate fire, in the flesh.
Blind, stunned, the sound
Of thunder, in my ears.

Shivering with sweat, cold
Tremors over the skin,
I turn the colour of dead grass,
And I’m an inch from dying.

http://www.poetryintranslation.com/PITBR/Greek/Sappho.htm

Sappho

Sappho, in the CC image by Robert Brook

I’m leaving with this, one of her fragment I love most:

The Moon is down,
The Pleiades. Midnight,
The hours flow on,
I lie, alone.

About Antonio Vantaggiato

Professor, web2.0 enthusiast, and didactic chef.
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