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The Marsh Lily

Lucie Briand (author)   
Published 17 Apr 2024

The Marsh Lily
Sappho
[fragment], end of the 7th c. BCE

Sappho, if you are content to remain there no more will I
Love you. O rise and shine out upon us. Set free
Your glorious strength from your bed, and then, casting off
Your Chian robe, wash yourself like the marsh lily by
The bank of the river. And Kleis will hand to you
From your press a saffron robe and a peplum of purple.

Translated from Ancient Greek by Edward Storer
 

Some poetry to take you on a journey into a sapphic sphere of Antiquity and send you back to a nostalgic  world overwhelmed by a violent desire for unconditional love. Sappho was an ancient Greek poetess, known  for expressing in her writings her attraction to other women, hence the term “sapphism” to designate female  homosexuality, while the term “lesbian” is derived from Lesbos, the island where she lived. 

Poems in general question the notion of reality in language. From dream to poem, this is the journey of the  imaginary, opposing between real time and off-time, from reality to symbolism, and from suffering to desire.  Indeed, Sapho, an ancient figure, unconsciously takes us back to Greek mythology. Her stories depict her  feelings and desires in mythological terms. 

She makes us dream through her texts, does the space into which she invites us share fiction or reality? For  my part, whether it is a dream or a reality associated with memories of the past, I would happily invite myself to this island of suspended time and join it to taste the fruit of tranquility and simplicity

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