(c. 600 BCE / Greece)

Cleis - Poem by Sappho

Sleep, darling
I have a small
daughter called
Cleis, who is

like a golden
I wouldn't
take all Croesus'
kingdom with love
thrown in, for her


Don't ask me what to wear
I have no embroidered
headband from Sardis to
give you, Cleis, such as
I wore
and my mother
always said that in her
day a purple ribbon
looped in the hair was thought
to be high style indeed

but we were dark:
a girl
whose hair is yellower than
torchlight should wear no
headdress but fresh flowers

tr. Barnard

Comments about Cleis by Sappho

  • (10/20/2016 12:00:00 PM)

    I have to do a report on Sappho and this poem really helps (Report) Reply

    1 person liked.
    0 person did not like.
  • Latha G (6/7/2016 3:21:00 PM)

    Very impressive poem. The poet's daughter must have real golden flower.
    Very beaitifully knitted multiple topics and brought out the poem like a capsule form!
    (Report) Reply

    (10/20/2016 12:01:00 PM)

    I agree

  • (9/4/2015 8:09:00 PM)

    ....beautiful the imagery of purple ribbons - -★ (Report) Reply

  • (8/19/2014 11:33:00 AM)

    Sappho you are a real classic and a treasure to read... (Report) Reply

  • Sayeed Abubakar (7/31/2013 6:34:00 AM)

    What a touchy poem! I am utterly touched by the language of a lovely mother. (Report) Reply

  • (5/12/2005 11:12:00 AM)

    what sunlight, what youthfulness, what tenderness does not exude from my beloved Sappho? (Report) Reply

Read all 7 comments »

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Read poems about / on: daughter, purple, hair, flower, girl, mother, sleep, dark, love

Poem Submitted: Tuesday, December 31, 2002

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