I’m taking one back for the ladies. We have our own special way. Of convening with ourselves, and the world.
I love reading Sappho, who lived approximately 630-570 BC. Her work only survives in fragments. Sadly. And she wrote poems that she would have sung as songs, so we’ll never know what, really, they sounded like. But her reputation as a magnificent poet carried on through her life, and through the centuries.
She speaks to us now. Ladies.
trans. Mary Barnard
I love that
me. I believe
Love has his
share in the
This fragment is a profession of love, but not a cerebral, heady, fraught and turbulent kind of love. She professes love – for physical experience. She loves the caress of the sun, literally, and her lover, metaphorically. Love is a part of the “Sun’s brilliance,” and so love imbues everything the sun illuminates. We can imagine a world full of rich, evocative scents, images, and textures. The sensual is a part of love. We feel longing, desire, ecstasy and completion in life as it surrounds us. And caresses us.
We can’t read Christian value judgements into “Before Common Era” poetry, but the phrase “I confess” speaks to us of a hidden truth that our poet – She – can only admit with a moment’s hesitation. With a sense that this is a feeling that should not be revealed. A truth – and a feeling – tinged with unholiness.
But “Love has his share” in the sun’s “virtue” as well as its brilliance. Again, this is a word with a very different meaning in ancient understanding. The Latin root means valor or excellence, whereas Christianity has turned it into a moralistic referendum on everything from sexual purity to religious fidelity. I don’t know what word Sappho used originally or what it meant. But on a very basic level, the sentiment here is that the physical world – and physical experience – can be righteous. Excellent. And filled with love.
Word up. Paging the Hot Sex Prospect!
Here at WTF?! we don’t fear anachronism, because we are trying to form and figure out a true sense of women’s identity and evolving place in the world. Who are we? Where are we going? What can we learn from our own lives, our friends lives, from lives of women long ago?
We can ponder. We can explore. We can seek to understand. But we all have those moments in the sun – or with a lover – where we FEEL the caress of the infinite and the divine. And so we long, as always, for that kind of Love.
[all images found on ffffound blog]
Rebecca Coale - aka Becky - is a writer, musician and producer. She and childhood best friend Jessica Donalds created Dating & Hookup and founded J&R Creative Media. Becky blogs about love poetry and modern life & womanhood. She lives with her husband, Howard Coale, and their family in Manhattan and Philadelphia.
datingandhookup.com is a website that explores modern romance in the Millennial era – which, let’s be honest, looks nothing like we were taught to expect. We feature essays, advice and social commentary with humor, compassion and brains, and we vow never, ever to publish a piece called “The 10 Best Ways to Satisfy Your Man in Bed”. Do click to submit your work to us. We love you.
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