This was a poetry form I learned about while doing research for the first Woven book. It’s inspired by the Greek Poet Sappho.
To understand a sapphic poem, you’ve got to learn some new words, unless you’re already knowledgeable about poetry meters. First, you have to know what a trochee is. It’s a word you say with the emphasis is on the first syllable. Like happy or Pittsburgh. Next, we’ve got dactyls, which are words of three syllables, with the emphasis on the first, like carefully. See? Isn’t learning fun?
So, when we’re writing a sapphic poem, it’s set up in stanzas of four lines. The first three lines consist of two trochees, one dactyl, then two more trochees. The fourth line is shorter, with a dactyl and a trochee.
i love this sort of poetry. It’s all about music without instruments and a rhythm to your words. Rather than making you suffer through my own crappy poetry, here’s one translated from Sappho. Found on the website Poetry Archive.
HYMN TO APHRODITE
HRONED in splendor, immortal Aphrodite!
- Child of Zeus, Enchantress, I implore thee
- Slay me not in this distress and anguish,
- Lady of beauty.
- Hither come as once before thou camest,
- When from afar thou heard’st my voice lamenting,
- Heard’st and camest, leaving thy glorious father’s Palace golden,
- Yoking thy chariot. Fair the doves that bore thee;
- Swift to the darksome earth their course directing,
- Waving their thick wings from the highest heaven
- Down through the ether.
- Quickly they came. Then thou, O blessed goddess,
- All in smiling wreathed thy face immortal,
- Bade me tell thee the cause of all my suffering,
- Why now I called thee;
- What for my maddened heart I most was longing.
- “Whom,” thou criest, “dost wish that sweet Persuasion
- Now win over and lead to thy love, my Sappho?
- Who is it wrongs thee?
- “For, though now he flies, he soon shall follow,
- Soon shall be giving gifts who now rejects them.
- Even though now he love not, soon shall he love thee
- Even though thou wouldst not.”
- Come then now, dear goddess, and release me
- From my anguish. All my heart’s desiring
- Grant thou now. Now too again as aforetime,
- Be thou my ally.