Sappho Asks a Favor of a Friend

Immortal Aphrodite on your throne
So richly ornamented, hear my prayer:
Don’t overwhelm my spirit with despair,
…………Nor leave me here alone;

Sly daughter of great Zeus, in my distress
Spring into action as you used to do
When you would have my distant call put through
…………And swiftly acquiesce;

Leaving the golden palace in your car,
Your sparrow-powered chariot at speed
Brought you to earth in answer to my need,
…………From heaven through mid-air;

And with a smile on your immortal face,
You’d ask, “Oh, dear, what can the matter be
This time; this time, why do you call on me,
…………And how may I erase

Those tears of yours and fill your heart with song?
Which means, ‘Whom must I once again romance,
Persuade to give our Sappho one more chance?
…………Who has done you this wrong?

For she who flees will seek you in return;
Who spurns your gifts will offer them instead;
Who icily declines to share your bed
…………Unwillingly will burn.’”

Come back, and from the cares you see betide me,
Offer fulfillment now and sweet relief
For all of my anxieties and grief—
…………Dear ally, stand beside me!

Charles Martin

Charles Martin

Charles Martin’s most recent books of poems are Signs & Wonders, and Future Perfect, both published by The Johns Hopkins University Press. He is a recipient of the Harold Morton Landon Award from the Academy of American Poets and an Award for Literature from the American Academy of Arts and Letters.
Charles Martin

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Author: Charles Martin

Charles Martin’s most recent books of poems are Signs & Wonders, and Future Perfect, both published by The Johns Hopkins University Press. He is a recipient of the Harold Morton Landon Award from the Academy of American Poets and an Award for Literature from the American Academy of Arts and Letters.