January 1, 2011

On what is best

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--Description: 6thC BC, Sappho, Love, Mythology, War -- 


Some celebrate the beauty
of knights, or infantry,
or billowing flotillas
at battle on the sea.
Warfare has its glory,
but I place far above
these military splendors
the one thing that you love.

For proof of this contention
examine history:
we all remember Helen,
who left her family,
her child, and royal husband,
to take a stranger's hand:
her beauty had no equal,
but bowed to love's command.

As love then is the power
that none can disobey,
so too my thoughts must follow
my darling far away:
the sparkle of her laughter
would give me greater joy
than all the bronze-clad heroes


- translated by Jon Corelis
Sappho

--Did You Know: Sappho was an Ancient Greek poet, born on the island of Lesbos. Later Greeks included her in the list of nine lyric poets. Her birth was sometime between 630 and 612 BC, and it is said that she died around 570 BC, but little is known for certain about her life. The bulk of her poetry, which was well-known and greatly admired throughout antiquity, has been lost, but her immense reputation has endured through surviving fragments. The only contemporary source which refers to Sappho's life is her own body of poetry, and scholars are sceptical of biographical readings of it. Later biographical traditions, from which all more detailed accounts derive, have also been cast into doubt. Read more at: Sappho

--Poetry Terminology: antiphon -
Verse of a psalm or hymn which is sung or recited.

--Word of the Day: zenith \ZEE-nith\, noun:
1. A highest point or state; culmination.
2. The point on the celestial sphere vertically above a given position or observer. Opposite of nadir.
This performance, this zenith of consummate operatic staging, dramatic force, and perfected vocal artistry, had been frozen for all time.
-- Philip K. Dick, The World Jones Made

--Quote of the Day: Forgiveness does not change the past, but it does enlarge the future.
- Paul Boese

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