Wednesday, August 28, 2013

"A Handkerchief Dripping With..."

To start, I am not naturally inclined toward  poetry. It's not that I don't think it's valid or beautiful or interesting, I just usually... miss the point. I read a poem or a sonnet and think, "Oh how wonderful, he's being totally serious about how much he loves this girl and how she looks like a blossoming flower." Only to find out that it's all tongue in cheek and about child rape and I've missed the whole point of that poet's existence. I tend to take everything in poetry at face value, which is kind of the opposite of the point. 

I do, however, enjoy Sappho. Her poems were written before women could write, and they are so incomplete that I feel like I have a right to make up my own meaning and miss the point entirely because I have only been given one word per line.  I don't know if I adore them because of the way their written, or because of the beautiful fragmentation of the work. The one-liners that have been preserved are extraordinary. If I could evoke that many emotions with just four words, not even a full sentence, I would feel like I accomplished something. 

I mean, "A handkerchief dripping with..." 
That's been echoing in my mind for two days. 

Another of hers that I particularly love is, "I don't know which way I'm running, My mind is part this way, part that..." She just proves that women have been contradicting themselves for thousands of years! 

Her writing (since it wasn't exactly important or preserved, as it was done by a woman and was not about God and country) has been salvaged in a very broken, lost form and has been published as "fragments", which are wildly nondescript and incomplete but somehow still so beautiful. As an author of desire, her texts (and the lack thereof) leave you wanting. It's an ironic form of art. The original Greek has been translated and translated again, and I prefer some translations over others, but the mystery that envelopes this woman's life and the depth of her loves is something that clings to each and every word, no matter how it is translated. 

"Beauty is for the eyes and fades in a while,
But goodness is a beauty that lasts forever..."


And also, I'm back to school which means an oath: To Be a Better Blogger.

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