To Atthis

Sappho Letters

Though in Sardis now,

she things of us constantly

and of the life we shared.

She saw you as a goddess

and above all your dancing gave her deep joy.

Now she shines among Lydian women like

the rose-fingered moon

rising after sundown, erasing all

stars around her, and pouring light equally

across the salt sea

and over densely flowered fields

lucent under dew. Her light spreads

on roses and tender thyme

and the blooming honey-lotus.

Often while she wanders she remem-

bers you, gentle Atthis,

and desire eats away at her heart

for us to come.

–Translated by Willis Barnstone

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