Skip to main content

An Invitation

After Sappho, fragment 2

Kypris, goddess, come to us from Crete!
This temple in your pleasant apple grove
has incense burning in the name of love.
Smoke rises from your altars. How the smell is sweet!

Though lost to sight through apple boughs, I hear
a stream of clear cold water’s gurgling sound.
To shade us, roses flourish all around;
their shimmering leaves work drowsy magic on the air.

The field where horses graze and spring flowers bloom,
where breezes stir and we make holiday
awaits your presence and the graceful way
you fill our festive golden cups with nectar. Come!

Audio file

Listen to this poem — read by the author

Sappho, Fragment 2

δεῦρυ μ’ ἐκ Κρητας .π[ ]ναῦον
ἄγνον, ὄππ[αι δὴ] χάριεν μὲν ἄλσος
μαλί[αν], βῶμοι †δ’ ἔνι θυμιάμε-
   νοι [λι]βανώτῳ·

ἐν δ’ ὔδωρ ψῦχρον κελάδει δι’ ὔσδων
μαλίνων, βρόδοισι δὲ παῖς ὀ χῶρος
ἐσκίαστ’, αἰθυσσομένων δὲ φύλλων
   κῶμα κατέρρει·

ἐν δὲ λείμων ἰππόβοτος τέθαλε
ἠρινίοισιν ἄνθεσιν, αἰ δ’ ἄνητοι
μέλλιχα πνέοισιν [
   [ ]

ἔλθα δὴ σὺ στέμ…. ἔλοισα Κύπρι,
χρυσίαισιν ἐν κυλίκεσσιν ἄβρως
ὀμμεμείχμενον θαλίαισι νέκταρ