By John Kaufman
(Translated by Julia Dubnoff via The Divine Sappho)
Some say an army of horsemen,
some of footsoldiers, some of ships,
is the fairest thing on the black earth,
but I say it is what one loves.
It’s very easy to make this clear
to everyone, for Helen,
by far surpassing mortals in beauty,
left the best of all husbands
and sailed to Troy,
mindful of neither her child
nor her dear parents, but
with one glimpse she was seduced by
Aphrodite. For easily bent…
and nimbly…[missing text]…
has reminded me now
of Anactoria who is not here;
I would much prefer to see the lovely
way she walks and the radiant glance of her face
than the war-chariots of the Lydians or
their footsoldiers in arms.
— by Sappho
For more on Sappho and her passionate, ancient art, try this link to the Academy of American Poets page on Sappho.