Translated by Thomas Connelly
Two new poems have come to light recently. Supposedly these poems were written by the violet haired, pure, honey smiling Sappho. One poem, called The Brothers Poem is mostly complete, apparently missing only a verse or two from the start. The second poem “The Kypris Poem” is written to Kypris, better known to us as Aphrodite. This is, however, much more fragmentary.
The idea that this is a Sappho poem is backed up from this quote by Herodotus in his shaggy dog sort of a book. (Histories 2.135.1) “Rhodopis came to Egypt to work, brought by Xanthes of Samos, but upon her arrival was freed for a lot of money by Kharaxus of Mytilene, son of Scamandronymus and brother of Sappho the poetess.”
The scholars who have studied this these new poems say that they are undoubtedly written by Sappho, these sorts of absolutes scare me. However the works does to be in her dialect and her metre. Could it be an exercise from some student of rhetoric? Possibly. But I can not say.
I made a translation as part of my attempt to teach myself Ancient Greek, but I am not a student, I am not a scholar, so I am sure that I have made some mistakes. They are all mine. I tried to capture her metrical style, but with the differences of language this is problematic. I did strive to make my translation feel strange and archaic. Enjoy, but understand if this is Sappho, it is not one of her best.
The Brothers Poem
While women chatter, Kharaxos is comeing,
His boat stuffed full! Of these outcomes only Zeus
And the other gods know. You do not have
To think such things.
Escort me, persuade me to offer
Many pleadings to radiant Queen Hera
For the return home of Kharaxos.
She guides his ship.
You will find us well. But for the rest?
Let us leave all that to the gods;
For fair weather after a fierce storm
If the king of Olympus decrees,
A helper will, in times of distress,
Turn the course. To these people blessings
And wealth will flow.
And us? Well if he would raise his head,
Larichos, and become at last a man,
The many heavy chains on my heart would
Once fall away.
Thomas has been writing poetry for quite a long time now. He mostly prefers the ephemeral
excitement of spoken word events. In Hobart this is best shown by his involvement with Silver Words,
a group which meets last Thursday in the month at Frankie’s Empire cafe in Hobart. Like the facebook
page for more information.https://www.facebook.com/thesilverwords When not writing poetry or doing
dad stuff, Thomas enjoys heckling right wingers on social media.