But All Must Be Endured ...

In Wild Friday at Poets United, Sanaa invites us to complete one of Sappho's fragments — this one:

In my eyes he matches the gods 

In my eyes he matches the gods, that man who

sits there facing you—any man whatever—
listening from close by to the sweetness of your
          voice as you talk, the

sweetness of your laughter: yes, that—I swear it—
sets the heart to shaking inside my breast, since
once I look at you for a moment, I can't
          speak any longer,

but my tongue breaks down, and then all at once a
subtle fire races inside my skin, my
eyes can't see a thing and a whirring whistle
          thrums at my hearing,

cold sweat covers me and a trembling takes
a hold of me all over: I'm greener than the
grass is and appear to myself to be little
          short of dying.

But all must be endured, since even a poor 

So here is my idea:

But All Must Be Endured ...

But all must endured, since even a poor
fellow may sit, laugh, speak with you, touch your hand—
even one utterly unworthy to stay
        near your sweet beauty.

He is privileged as a god, even if
you care nothing for him. He is free to bask
in your least glance, the slightest remark you let fall— 
        while I sit like stone.

Yes I, watching, show no sign of the turmoil
inwardly destroying me. My face is a mask.
Near fainting, yet I contain myself: remain
         still, silent, alone.

(I kept to the syllabic pattern of the original.)


  1. Oh this brings me back to days of crushes and broken hearts. I remember these feelings so well, the pain of pretending, the torture of wanting. Also, terrific job with matching the syllable pattern!

  2. This is so nice Rosemary. I also chose Sappho's poem.

  3. This is masterfully done, Rosemary!❤️ You portray the feelings of love, desire and jealousy so well here especially; "He is free to bask in your least glance, the slightest remark you let fall— while I sit like stone." Thank you so much for writing to the prompt! 😍😍

  4. You didn't just keep to the syllabic pattern of the original, you carried the tone and the feels. The way your speaker advocates for the poor fellow made me sigh. And your ending makes a heart ache and make arms want to hug.

  5. I love this response.........how we try to hide, in our faces, such strong emotions. You did so well with your Sappho poem. Love the way you emulated the pattern of Sappho's poem.

  6. I love the line while I sit like stone.

  7. Wonderful job. Well done! If anyone can take a poem of Sappho's and make it their's, you can.


  8. Such stoicism in the face of a yearning heart. Good one!

  9. Having just posted my own poem I come to yours and was glad to see you have decided to do as It did too! I loved completing the poem for Sappho. I half wished were we all asked to do that and re-enact the scene. Great job.

  10. I love your ending, Rosemary, "My face is a mask.
    Near fainting, yet I contain myself: remain still, silent, alone."
    But sooo, so sad.

  11. Rosemary this was so, clever! Bravo, for keeping the tone and doing it your way~ I need to read it again-so, good~

  12. My narrator is also near fainting, I think. It's hard to observe and not have a chance!

  13. Excellent job on the ending. The match was perfect in style.


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