Sappho returns to Letchworth 3

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!

Sappho in Letchworth

Exotic bird
who hungered
for every fruit,
you came to sing
in this Garden City.

But the reformers
had no time for song
and the men in bowlers
choked you with pipe-smoke
as they walked by.

You played your lyre
to a circle of trees.
Then the modern maenads
stole you away
and you wandered.

Colourful bird,
they say you’re coming
back to the garden.
But what will you sing
in the cold air?

Dennis Tomlinson

Sappho to Alcaeus

Wine, you advise, is the best cure
for sorrow, and also the best adjunct
to happiness. It’s true that a glass

of retsina would raise my spirits
when autumn winds shook the olives,
and when I kissed Kala, our lips often

carried the fragrance of amphorae.
But she’s gone, and it’s winter;
I can’t stand the smell of wine.

I sit tuning my lyre, brush sad songs
from my heart in a falling cadence;
now only music will do.

John Gohorry

SAPPHO AS A BOY

comfortable
in top hat and tails
a proper gent

she is the talk
of the salons and bars
copies of her
fetch high prices

her knickers are red
in case she forgets

before Cyrus
her island paradise
floated above the clouds
in golden blue
love was an education

Sappho
the king
the accused woman
what the butler saw

Sappho as a boy
the big comeback
falling in love with a boy
flying
onto the rocks below

Gareth Writer-Davies

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