Eros harrows my heart:
wild winds whipping desolate mountains,
I fell in love with this erotic little number many years ago, and ended up translating it myself. Here, Sappho of Lesbos conveys the elemental nature of Eros, the Greek god of sexual love. Our term "erotic" derives from the name Eros, just as our terms "sapphic" and "lesbian" derive from Sappho's name and the name of her island home. Interestingly, Eros was the son of Aphrodite (the goddess of love) and Ares (the god of war)! And in this poem love does sound like a battlefield, to borrow a phrase from Pat Benatar. I believe Sappho is telling us that she can't always control the way she feels, or what happens when she falls in love. Oscar Wilde once admitted that he could resist everything but temptation. William Blake opined that only weaklings can control their passions. Robert Herrick said that he was "bewitched" by a glimpse of his lover's underwear. Thus, some of the greatest love poets seem to agree that love is a force beyond our ability to resist!