Sappho/Once In Pompeii


When you say ‘Sappho
She is beautiful’
Rinse that mist from your eyes

She is small and dark
A nightingale perhaps
But withered wings and body

Ambivalent by nature
All night she lies alone   –
She has her just deserts

Attracting that same treatment
She meted out to others   –
And to one who truly loved her




Pompeii’s ‘House of Lovers’
Re-emerged in 1933
From beneath that boorish outburst of Vesuvius

A Minister for Culture then declared
‘This story of Revival…
Rebirth and of Redemption…’

Perhaps he did not see its name derived
From a doorstep’s cryptic inscription   – 

‘Lovers’ Lives   –   Like Bees   –
Pass Sweetly in this Honeyed World   –
O If Only This Were So!’

Frescoes of the House are well preserved
Pastoral scenes of courtship and romance
Last gazed upon before a fall of ash


Bernard Saint
Illustration: Claire Palmer


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