Sappho was an ancient Greek poet famous for her erotic, love themed poetry. She hailed from the island of Lesbos and throughout history many have debated her sexuality. Sappho's poems are filled with an abundance of floral imagery and botanical references which help illustrate the passions and turmoils of her heart's longing. Here are some of our favourite fragments:
Like the sweet apple which reddens upon the topmost bough,
Atop on the topmost twig, — which the pluckers forgot, somehow, —
Forget it not, nay; but got it not, for none could get it till now.
Like the wild hyacinth flower which on the hills is found,
Which the passing feet of the shepherds for ever tear and wound,
Until the purple blossom is trodden in the ground.
As a wind in the mountains
assaults an oak,
Love shook my breast.
For by my side you put on
many wreaths of roses
and garlands of flowers
around your soft neck.
And with precious and royal perfume
you anointed yourself.
On soft beds you satisfied your passion.
And there was no dance,
no holy place
from which we were absent