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 Hades
I drank deep at the well of memory
when first I came here to the quiet,
clinging to the beauties of the earth,
their warm breath, their scented touch.
My shade walked the halls of school
and grove for nigh on a millennium
until the time of the hero-boys,
all Homeric thunder and tight buns.
Then, they closed the halls at Eleusis,
where once my beloved priestess
fed swine for the greater mystery..
They would thunder down the chute
like motorbikes on a highway, pumping
full with love and terror the hearts
of new initiates. A pig would die
in the dark. Such are we, the assenting
crowd would cry. Such are we.
And they would see the Maiden
in her glory, and know the joy
of dying to the golden-haired,
To be roasted, eaten, and born again
to the dark queen. When I came here,
she called to me by name, offering
to me, alone, her box of beauty.
It is open. Never in life such desire:
Eros and a butterfly in chains.
Psyche, psyche, psyche. Light now
the lamp. These eyes are in flames.
© Luisetta Mudie
Luisetta Mudie’s recent poetry collection is available here for download or print-on-demand.
The Re-Education of Sappho
Right then, Sappho
Take a seat,
It’s time for your lez-ed.
Though we adore you and applaud you
For giving us our name,
And we celebrate by travelling
To where you first got laid…
And our culture wouldn’t be the same
Without a girl like you –
You’ve been studied, robbed and quoted,
Influenced the great Miss Duffy,
God, imagine if she met you
She would want to touch your…
Now hears the thing,
Maybe it’s coz you’re Greek,
All your unrequited love, girl
Is nothing but a tragedy!
You must have picked the wrong ones,
Well you did, coz most got married,
I know that you “got married too”
But your husband’s name was “Penis”, get me?
Now I’m sure if you had known
How to spot a girl who’s funky,
You’d probably spend less time pining
And more time with her monkey.
So Sappho, here it is,
Kindly lend me you ear,
The rest is vital information
For any modern queer…
First you’ve got your Diesel Dyke,
She owns a bike, and probably some leather,
Got tats, wears tanks, a beer belly, and
Goes by the name of Heather (?)
Next you’ve got your hippies
With dreadlocks in their hair –
All I’ll say is, if it’s bad on top
Then what’s it like down there?
Third – the Sporty Lez,
Pony-tail, a hockey stick,
Make-up to a minimum,
Which brings me on to “Lipstick” –
These are girls who look like girls,
Not just girls, but “girls”,
Nice to look at, pretty faces,
But no use with long nails…
Next is your Granola –
Her best mate’s Peter Storm.
You know, coz she only shops at Milletts
And he’s all she’s ever worn.
The Granola’s love a bit of
Soya, seeds and rye,
All things natural,
Never thought of using hair dye.
But your cool and trendy girl round town,
She has, she comes from Shoreditch –
Good clothes, good taste, taste good, looks great,
She dumped me, she’s a bitch…
Next is your Burlesque –
Now these are fairly new,
But if you like a curvy girl,
This is the sort for you.
Then you’ve got the hedgehog type,
Generally, their hair is shite –
Too much Dax, no board to wax,
But always in those boardshorts…
And bikini tops…
Wait, I missed one,the Libraian –
Bookish, bob and tights,
Likes Virginia Wolf and Sarah Walters,
Especially that “Fingersmith”,
Studied gender roles whilst kissing girls
In the halls at Cambridge (of course).
So there you have it, Sappho –
No more talk of “crushed down spirits”,
Take you lyre and fire
Up a winner,
You can write now of success.
Forget the Isle of Lesbos,
Gyrinna and Atthis,
Now you can spot yourself a sure thing,
In “Twat Boutique”.
the kind of woman
other women hate
does not make a drama
out of burnt coffee
looks good in a drape
fascinates with her fingertips
she’s been around
she is the status quo
men and women
are all the same to her
with a planet
above her head
when she is not
she pops another poem
into the pot
and buries it in the hillside
stamped its foot
and the world shook
is coming to town
would like to meet
for conversation or maybe more