Chatter, rumors: Ooh, Charaxos has come

safe, ship laden—he is back at home!

If you ask me, that is the gods’ concern.

Don't think about it.

Better send me to pour out a stream

of supplications; tell me to pray to Queen

Hera: May Charaxos steer safely home.

And may he find us

safe and well. And let us please leave all

the rest to heaven. Out of a stormy squall

a divine calm suddenly can prevail,

if that is how

the king of heaven wills it. Some power may

from rough waters steer us skillfully

toward blessings and prosperity.

As for our family,

if Larichos would only lift his head,

leave his childhood, grow to a man instead,

then we from this weight of depression would

finally be free.

Author notes

This translation, reprinted with permission of the Times Literary Supplement, was first published in the May 2, 2014, issue of the Times Literary Supplement.

For a brief discussion of the “Brothers Poem” by Sappho, see the introduction to this issue, page 17, endnote 13.