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I Cried Today

Updated on September 18, 2012

Our humanity will save us

I have cried today.

I don’t often do that, but today I came across the words of someone who has been dead for 2600 years and yet I have recognized the voice. I have recognized it even though I have never heard it before. The voice of a gifted human being.

The voice of a woman, a mother speaking to her daughter:

Sleep, darling

I have a small

daughter called

Cleis, who is

like a golden


I wouldn't take

all Croesus'

kingdom with love

thrown in, for her.....

And the same mother, black haired, explains to her blonde daughter about fashion:

Don't ask me what to wear

I have no embroidered

headband from Sardis to

give you, Cleis, such as

I wore

and my mother

always said that in her

day a purple ribbon

looped in the hair was thought

to be high style indeed

but we were dark:

a girl

whose hair is yellower than

torchlight should wear no

headdress but fresh flowers

And the same mother speaking to her own mother:

It's no use

Mother dear, I

can't finish my weaving

You may blame Aphrodite

soft as she is

she has almost

killed me with

love for that boy

A woman of truth:

We know this much

Death is an evil;

we have the gods'

word for it; they too

would die if death

were a good thing

And the same woman in love:

He seems to me the equal of the gods,

the man who sits facing you

and, near you, listens to

your charming voice

and your alluring laugh that makes

my heart flutter in my breast.

When I see you, even briefly, then

I cannot speak,

but my tongue is silenced; a slender

flame slips suddenly beneath my flesh;

my eyes see nothing, my ears

are roaring,

sweat drenches me, trembling

seizes my entire body, I am paler

than grass, and I seem almost dead.

But I must endure, since....

The voice I came across today and recognized for its humanity was the voice of Sappho.

Dimitris Mita

De Greek


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