Published on Academy of American Poets (https://poets.org)


The Anactoria Poem

Some say thronging cavalry, some say foot soldiers, 
others call a fleet the most beautiful of 
sights the dark earth offers, but I say it's what-
            ever you love best.

And it's easy to make this understood by 
everyone, for she who surpassed all human 
kind in beauty, Helen, abandoning her
            husband—that best of

men—went sailing off to the shores of Troy and 
never spent a thought on her child or loving 
parents: when the goddess seduced her wits and
            left her to wander,

she forgot them all, she could not remember 
anything but longing, and lightly straying 
aside, lost her way. But that reminds me
            now: Anactória,

she's not here, and I'd rather see her lovely 
step, her sparkling glance and her face than gaze on
all the troops in Lydia in their chariots and
            glittering armor.

Credit


From The Poetry of Sappho (Oxford University Press 2007), translated by Jim Powell. Copyright © 2007 by Jim Powell. Reprinted by permission of the author.

Author


Sappho

Only a handful of details are known about the life of Sappho.

Date Published: 2007-01-01

Source URL: https://poets.org/poem/anactoria-poem