alexconall: the Pleiades (Default)
[personal profile] alexconall posting in [community profile] poetree
I owe [personal profile] jjhunter a lot for how this poem turned out in the end. My initial idea for remixing Sappho Fragment 16 was to translate (more in the sense of 'moving sideways' than in the sense involving multiple languages) the concepts into a poetic form to which English is better suited. In a way, that's what I did in the end. The images of armies and Helen are Sappho's, but Sappho was writing about her conception of beauty, speaking as a queer woman of Lesbos millennia ago, and I am here writing of mine, speaking as a queer woman of today's USA.

The meter is not Sapphic, more's the pity, but, uh, Wiki 'Sapphic stanza' and scroll down to the poems by Lee and Tranter. Someday I'll write a true Sapphic poem in English; this is not that day. Anyway, English iambic pentameter is eminently suited to describing beauty, as any student of Shakespeare knows.

I present:

"Anaktoria"

My Tori's face won't launch a thousand ships.
She's no Anne Hathaway or Tyra Banks.
I would hear one sweet word from her lips
and sing to Aphrodite with my thanks.

Which Muse inspires Tori, I know not,
but surely she's the greatest of the nine—
just see the intricacy of her plot,
admire how her careful syntax shines.

Some men would say how beautiful the fleet
that sailed to kidnap Helen from her Troy.
Some men would praise the military beat
of drums and step of boots as men deploy.

I look at Tori when I want to see
true beauty. Tori, artist, can create.
An army is meant to destroy, not be
a tool to build. But sadly, Tori's straight.

Date: 2013-09-19 06:35 pm (UTC)
serene: we're having hot lesbian sex. and by lesbian sex, we mean tea. but it's hot. (lesbian tea)
From: [personal profile] serene
You. Are. MIGHTY.

Date: 2013-09-20 06:13 am (UTC)
calissa: (Default)
From: [personal profile] calissa
That is one awesome poem!

I did feel that the last stanza was a bit weaker than the rest (I think it was the mid-line sentence endings). However, I especially love the second stanza and the reference to "her careful syntax"--I suspect this fits the beauty ideal of many of us here! The Anne Hathaway reference also amuses me, given your invocation of Shakespeare in the intro.

All in all, I loved it. I think Sappho would approve as well.

Date: 2013-09-20 11:56 pm (UTC)
calissa: (Default)
From: [personal profile] calissa
I knew you meant the actress but it seemed like an amusing double-entendre :)

Date: 2013-09-20 07:12 am (UTC)
sylvaine: movieverse Pepper smiling. ([marvel] Pepper smiling)
From: [personal profile] sylvaine
Ha, this is fabulous! :D

Date: 2013-09-20 01:01 pm (UTC)
kaberett: Overlaid Mars & Venus symbols, with Swiss Army knife tools at other positions around the central circle. (Default)
From: [personal profile] kaberett
Ahahaha. This is gorgeous. Thank you so much for writing it for us :-)

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