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Friday, 13 July 2012 18:33

Sappho and Erinna Lesbian Poets

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sappho-and-erinna

Sappho is currently visiting her friend Erinna, a fellow poet on Greek Island of Tilos in the Aegean Sea archipelago. 

She hopes you will like the poems below written by Sappho and Erinna.  Erinna was a fellow poet, peer and friend of Sappho’s in 4th century BC Greece. Erinna was also considered to be a Lesbian and Mytilenean because of her close association with Sappho although she hailed from the neighboring island of Tilos or Telos.

To Atthis by Sappho

 

Though in Sardis now, she thinks 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 remembers you, gentle Atthis, 
and desire eats away at her heart for us to come.

Below we can see and compare Erinna's poety to Sappho's. Erinna was a fellow poet, peer and friend of Sappho’s in 4th century BC Greece. Erinna was also considered to be a Lesbian and Mytilenean because of her close association with Sappho although she hailed from the neighboring island of Tilos or Telos. 

Erinna loved her friend Baucis who died young shortly after her wedding. The poem fragments surviving are addressed to Baucis and are a lamentation mourning her death. That is all the information we have from history. We don’t know why Baucis died we do know that she was considered by some to be a disciple of Sappho’s. Sadly, Erinna herself also died young when she was only 19. Again we do not know the cause of her death. Later poets described Erinna as the “maiden bride of Hades’ and mourned the loss of her poetic promise. 

The Distaff (Spindle) Lament for Baucis by Erinna

You leaped from the white horses and raced madly into the deep wave

But “I’ve got you dear.” I shouted loudly

And when you were the Tortoise

You ran skipping through the yard of the great court

These are the things I lament and sorrow over my sad Baucis

In my heart … these traces still lie warm.

Now, they are only embers, those things we shared

Dolls … in our chambers … brides … towards dawn

Mother teaching us to work the wool about the cloth with purple

How the bogey-woman so frightened us two little ones:

On her head she had huge ears and she roamed around on four feet;

She would change her appearance [from one thing to another].

But when the time came that [you went to your marriage] bed,

You forgot all the things you had heard from your mother, dear Baucis:

While you were still a child Aphrodite put forgetfulness [in your heart]

So, crying out for you, … the rest I set aside.

For my feet are not so profane as to leave the house,

Nor is it fit that I should set eyes on your corpse,

Nor lament with my flowing hair uncovered …

The regard I feel for you crimsons my cheeks with tears.

On a epigraph for Baucis Erinna wrote,

“Her bridegroom’s father lit her pyre with the same torches that had burned while the bridal hymn was sung”.

* The picture shows Sappho and Erinna on vacation catching up poetry and nature.

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