one day i will write the missing parts of the sappho poems
Dr. Avedon said I could live to be a hundred years old. I intend to do it. For who would not wish to live a hundred years in a world where there are so many people who remember with gratitude and affection a little man with a frozen face who made them laugh a bit long years ago when they and I were both young? (My Wonderful World Of Slapstick)
He seems to me equal to gods that man
whoever he is who opposite you
sits and listens close
to your sweet speaking
and lovely laughing – oh it
puts the heart in my chest on wings
for when I look at you, even a moment, no speaking
is left in me
no: tongue breaks and thin
fire is racing under skin
and in eyes no sight and drumming
And cold sweat holds me and shaking
grips me all, greener than grass
I am and dead – or almost
I seem to me.
But all is to be dared, because even a person of poverty"
fragment 31 by Sappho and translated by Anne Carson (via pop-punk-patroclus)
"There was a man in Florence, a friar, Fra Savonarola, he induced all the people to think beauty was a sin. Some people think he was a magician and they fell under his spell for a season, they made fires in the streets and they threw in everything they liked, everything they had made or worked to buy, bolts of silk, and linen their mothers had embroidered for their marriage beds, books of poems written in the poet’s hand, bonds and wills, rent-rolls, title deeds, dogs and cats, the shirts from their backs, the rings from their fingers, women their veils, and do you know what was worst, Johane – they threw in their mirrors. So then they couldn’t see their faces and know how they were different from the beasts in the field and the creatures screaming on the pyre. And when they had melted their mirrors they went home to their empty houses, and lay on the floor because they had burned their beds, and when they got up next day they were aching from the hard floor and there was no table for their breakfast because they’d used the table to feed the bonfire, and no stool to sit on because they’d chopped it into splinters, and there was no bread to eat because the bakers had thrown into the flames the basins and the yeast and the flour and the scales. And you know the worst of it? They were sober. Last night they took their wine-skins …" He turns his arm, in a mime of a man lobbing something into a fire. "So they were sober and their heads were clear, but they looked around and they had nothing to eat, nothing to drink and nothing to sit on."
"But that wasn’t the worst. You said the mirrors were the worst. Not to be able to look at yourself."
"Yes. Well, so I think. I hope I can always look myself in the face. And you, Johane, you should always have a fine glass to see yourself. As you’re a woman worth looking at."
You could write a sonnet, Thomas Wyatt could write her a sonnet, and not make this effect … She turns her head away, but through the thin film of her veil he can see her skin glow. Because women will coax: tell me, just tell me something, tell me your thoughts; and this he has done."
Hilary Mantel in Wolf Hall
"Man shouldn’t be able to see his own face – there’s nothing more sinister. Nature gave him the gift of not being able to see it, and of not being able to stare into his own eyes.Only in the water of rivers and ponds could he look at his face. And the very posture he had to assume was symbolic. He had to bend over, stoop down, to commit the ignominy of beholding himself.The inventor of the mirror poisoned the human heart."
Fernando Pessoa (via blackestdespondency)
Honestly, I wish I were dead.
Weeping she left with many tears,
And said; “Oh what terrible things
we endured. Sappho, truly,
against my will I leave you.”
And I answered: “Go, be
happy, and remember me;
For you know how we cared for you.
And if not, then I want
to remind you…of the wonderful
things we shared.
For many wreaths of violets and
you put on by my side.
And many woven garlands
fashioned of flowers,
you tied round your soft neck.
And with rich myrrh,
fit for a queen,
And on a soft bed,
you satisfied our desire.
And there was
no sacred place
from which we were absent.
Fragment 94, Sappho. Translation by Ellen Greene.
Ellipses are in place where words are absent from the original damaged text.