Sappho returns to Letchworth 1

In the autumn of 2011, Poetry ID were approached to compose poems to celebrate the return of the statue of Sappho to Letchworth, after an absence of fourteen years. From time to time, we shall upload some of these poems. Read and enjoy!

BEST MATES

Theft of statue of Sappho
Letchworth, 1998

in the bosom
of the night
Atthis and Anactoria
with a low loader
and a chisel

their garden in Brixton
has had a makeover
they need
a motive for their island bed

Ana and Atthi
are best mates
and can’t get over it
when they look in each others eyes
they like what they see

two blows
with the heavy hammer
breaks a nail
her mouth opens
like an oyster shell

back home
a blanket warms her cheek
the wit of drunks and schoolboys
yields
to a little spit and polish

Atthis and Anactoria are known
as the real thing
by those in the know
their sweet secret
the song
of Sappho’s lyre

Gareth Writer-Davies

Red Bus

You are a bus driver, Aphrodite.
You drive a red bus only women can get on.
Every morning, while I am waiting at a stop,
I dream of beautiful ladies with lips
the colour of the bus.
Once I scan my Oyster card,
my eyes search for a girl
I first saw last Friday.
Whenever I long for her to glance at me,
a blue bus passes by
from the other side of the road.
That is a men-only bus.
I beg Aphrodite to abate my torment.
She winks and tells me to wait.
When I walk down to the bus stop next morning,
I find all the buses are painted red.

Yuko Minamikawa Adams

Rhodopis to Sappho

In Cairo, men paid me to dance
in a tunic painted with palm trees
and sandals laced to the knee;

they fed me the filthy script
I spoke that they took for love lines
and paid me when it was over.

But here in Lesbos you take me
unwashed, with thorns in my feet,
bruised ribs, and lice in my hair;

you anoint me with honey, speak
tender words in my ear, and your lips
touching mine, ask no payment.

John Gohorry

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