To love well is to want your love to live
more than a few years’ life, to breathe in art
after the stilling of their mortal heart.
All poets who are lovers want to give
eternal life, so want their work to last
and hold their love and loved one to the eye
of generations. Yet we know we lie
in saying this. All Sappho’s girls have passed
into the dust of graves, the ash of flame.
Books burn or rot, love dies. Love’s memory
is something even art can’t guarantee
Even Anactora is just a name
Whom Sappho sung. And yet, my love, I’ll write
Words that for some few years keep your name bright.