Sappho on Aesthetics

Some will say soldiers marching four abreast,
Some will say horsemen, or an armed regat-
ta’s the loveliest of sights; I say it’s that
…………..By which one is obsessed.

And anyone can prove that this is so,
For Helen, who transcended humankind
In beauty, left her noble spouse behind,
…………..When passion bade her, “Go!”

Before her son and parents were astir,
She sailed to Troy, a good wife led astray
By the goddess or whatever one may say
…………..Took possession of her

And carried her away without remorse.
Mention of Helen calls to mind my dear
Anaktoria, who’s no longer here,
…………..Bound on another course;

And at this moment I’d much rather see
Her dancing limbs and lovely flashing eyes
Than Lydian chariots, all manned with guys
…………..In glittering panoply.

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

Latest posts by Charles Martin (see all)

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.