A few days ago, I posted a piece about a Homeric passage that the recent supermoon reminded me of. But I’ve just realized that there is a description by Sappho, in a short poem not entirely complete, that I like even better. The original text is below, with a translation of my own after it.
Ἄστερες μὲν ἀμφὶ κάλαν σελάνναν
ἂψ ἀπυκρύπτοισι φάεννον εἶδος,
ὄπποτα πλήθοισα μάλιστα λάμπῃ
γᾶν … ἀργυρία …
Stars near the moon hide
when she causes earth to glow
in lovely silver. …
Yeah, it’s a haiku, I know, so that’s a little cheesy. But Greek lyric poetry strikes me as having the same sort of oblique quality that can be found in a good haiku. I fooled a little with the photo (the original of which I found here), but I like the moonlit ruin, since it picks up on the content as well as the fragmentary nature of the poem.