Cleis By Sappho

Cleis

Sleep, darling
I have a small
daughter called
Cleis, who is

like a golden
flower
I wouldn’t
take all Croesus’
kingdom with love
thrown in, for her

Don’t ask me what to wear
I have no embroidered
headband from Sardis to
give you, Cleis, such as
I wore
and my mother
always said that in her
day a purple ribbon
looped in the hair was thought
to be high style indeed

but we were dark:
a girl
whose hair is yellower than
torchlight should wear no
headdress but fresh flowers

Sappho
tr. Barnard

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