Sappho - Willis Barnstone

Return, Gongyla

Your lovely face.
When absent,
the pain of unpleasant

O Gongyla, my darling rose,
put on your milk-white gown. I want
you to come back quickly. For my
desire feeds on

your beauty. Each time I see your gown
I am made weak and happy. I too
blamed the Cyprus-born. Now I pray
she will not seek

revenge, and may she soon allow
you, Gongyla, to come to me
again: you whom of all women
I most desire.

Translation by Willis Barnstone

Βorn in Lewiston, Maine, Willis Barnstone was educated at Bowdoin, Columbia, Yale and the Sorbonne, and is now Distinguished Professor Emeritus of Comparative Literature at Indiana University. Some of his books are The Gnostic Bible, Life Watch, Algebra of Night: Selected Poems, The Secret Reader: 501 Sonnets, and With Borges on an Ordinary Evening in Buenos Airesz: A Memoir.