Poetic Fragment 31 by Sappho

by Steven McCabe

I see he who sits near you as an equal of the gods

For he can closely listen to your delightful voice

And that seductive laugh

That makes the heart behind my breasts to tremble.

Even when I glimpse you for a moment

My tongue is stilled as speech deserts me

While a delicate fire is beneath my skin –

My eyes cannot see, then,

When I hear only a whirling sound

As I shivering, sweat

Because all of me trembles;

I become paler than drought-grass

And nearer to death …

Translated by D.W. Myatt