Saturday, April 25, 2020

April 25: The Tenth Muse

Did Sappho write every day,
fret over words that clung
in strands of clumps,
and stare within?

She was an island girl, living in a Mediterranean clime,
blue skies and blue seas. She ran wild like any other girl
with violet hair, along a ridge path, taking care of sheep,
looking out to sea.

One day, she turned to pen. Who knows
what drove her then, what night of terror, what loss,
what inner music; only fragments remain
that soar and soar.

Around her, others went about their work,
made bread, sewed clothes, or directed slaves,
for Greece was then a democracy
for the very few.

Perhaps a slave caught her eye, some tragedy,
some loss. Perhaps her mother died,
her lover sailed away, her family scattered,
and she alone.

So, in the mornings, when the light came,
this tenth muse began to write,
her words a music of their own, still lost,
still inspiring us all.

Sappho of Eresos (Wikipedia)

Today's prompt from Robert Lee Brewer, of Writer's Digest fame, asks us to write a remix poem, that is to take a poem from long ago and shake it up entirely. So here's a new version of a poem written in 2009, a musing about Sappho who lived on an island of women long ago (about 630-570 BC). She wrote poetry meant to be sung with a lyre. and invented a poetic form (3 longer lines, followed by a shorter line), which I have tried to follow.

Sappho may have written as many as 10,000 lines, but only fragments remain. One such fragment: “Someone, I tell you, in another time will remember us.”

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