Sappho

He seems to me equal to gods that man
whoever he is who opposite you
sits and listens close
        to your sweet peaking

and lovely laughing–oh it
puts the heart in my chest on wings
for when I look at you, even a moment, no speaking
        is left in me

no: tongue breaks and thin
fire is racing under skin
and in eyes no sight and drumming
        fills ears

and cold sweat holds me and shaking grips me all, greener than grass
I am and dead–or almost
        I seem to me

But all is to be dared, because even a person of poverty

 

From If not, winter Fragments of Sappho, a translation by Anne Carson