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LAVC Poetry Touches on Universal and Contemporary Themes Discussion

I’m studying for my Humanities class and don’t understand how to answer this. Can you help me study?

Read Sappho’s poems below and discuss whether or not her poetry touches on universal and contemporary themes, emotions, and/or experiences. Explain and demonstrate why or why you do not think so through specific discussion of the poetry. Approx. 500 words

I have included some background information on Sappho in the link below:

Link (Links to an external site.)

Sappho’s Poems


Honestly, I wish I were dead.

Weeping many tears, she left me and said,

“Alas, how terribly we suffer, Sappho.

I really leave you against my will.”

And I answered: “Farewell, go and remember me.

You know how we cared for you.

If not, I would remind you

…of our wonderful times.

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.”


Sweet mother, I can’t do my weaving—

Aphrodite has crushed me with desire

for a tender youth.


Again love, the limb-loosener, rattles me



a crawling beast.


That man to me seems equal to the gods,

the man who sits opposite you

and close by listens

to your sweet voice

5 and your enticing laughter—

that indeed has stirred up the heart in my breast.

For whenever I look at you even briefly

I can no longer say a single thing,

but my tongue is frozen in silence;

10 instantly a delicate flame runs beneath my skin;

with my eyes I see nothing;

my ears make a whirring noise.

A cold sweat covers me,

trembling seizes my body,

15 and I am greener than grass.

Lacking but little of death do I seem.

One Girl (Links to an external site.)


Like the sweet apple which reddens upon the topmost bough,
A-top 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.


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