SAPPHO by LUSH (2019)

























































The poetry of Sappho, a poet from ancient Greece whose works exists only in fragments, is very beautiful.

















You may forget but





Let me tell you

that someone in

some future time

will think of us















That was different





My girlhood then

was in full bloom

and you —
















Do you remember





How a golden

broom grows on

the sea beaches














You remind me




Of a very gentle

little girl I once

watched picking flowers



















When they were tired






Night rained her

thick dark sleep

upon their eyes











Standing by my bed






In gold sandals

Dawn that very

moment awoke me

























Although they are



Only breath, words

which I command

are immortal
























I don’t know. There is a timeless quality, a space I can inhabit, within Sappho’s poetry. A simplicity within her words.



















As a boy  I would play Satie’s Gnossiennes on the piano, or Debussy’s Canope, and sink into the replete, sun-cypressed groves of my young imagination of what I thought constituted ancient Greece (when we went to Crete as a seventeen year old I almost died with pleasure………….the cicadas, the eucalyptus trees giving off cool scent in the burning afternoon sun; Prince’s Lovesexy blasting out into the blue; Eurythmics’ Savage). In converse: the cold, beautiful, silence inside of Keats’ Grecian Urn ( a space to rest, peacefully, forever). At university, when it all got too much, I would sometimes escape to the Classics Museum, no connection to my own studies – but a place which nobody seemed to ever go to (it was always empty); replicas of ancient Greek and Roman sculpture in alabaster, surrounding me, eyeless.





















































The Uffizi Museum in Florence is a place that overwhelms the senses. So much beauty. In excess. It can make you almost sick. And all the people (oh to be there right now, now that it is closed, to have that space all to yourself………………) A cruel thing to say, possibly  – my heart  goes out to Italy at this terrible moment, truly – but there are works of art in that place so exquisite,  that they can be appreciated only when solitary.


















Sappho,  by Lush, a new perfume which debuted at The Perfume Library in Florence last November  – it will come to Tokyo in June  – is, I think,  probably my favourite of the new collection.
















The first time I smelled this obviously happy perfume,  all I could smell on the back of my hands was lilies. Lilies breathing in the sunshine, uninhibited. Salty, extreme salicylates of jasmine  ( shadowy and medicinal,  paracetamol,  almost neo-Je Reviens ) ;  aldehydic, with reams of a soaring, solar ylang ylang, and a darker, gorsish undertone underneath (as it turns out, a quite original accord of orris root tinted with a dirt of coffee absolute);  the whole a  little rough, for sure, but for me also strangely ecstacizing with its smooth, and savoury,  vanilla dry down               –       and most definitely a perfume of love.



































We shall enjoy it








As for him who finds

fault, may silliness

and sorrow take him!


















That afternoon








Girls ripe to marry

wove the flower-

heads into necklaces
















In the spring twilight








The full moon is shining :

Girls take their places

as though around an altar















Awed by her splendor







Stars near the lovely

moon cover their own

bright faces

when she

is roundest and lights

earth with her silver



















If you will come








I shall put out

new pillows for

you to rest on
























Filed under Flowers

8 responses to “SAPPHO by LUSH (2019)

  1. This way, that way

    I do not know
    what to do: I
    am of two minds

  2. We know this much

    Death is an evil;
    we have the gods’
    word for it; they too
    would die if death
    were a good thing

  3. Nelleke Oepkes aka Booknose

    Neil, M Ginza, dear Black Narcisus
    You brought delight and tears. Thank you fot that!
    Now is the time for charity, compassion and beauty: let the Muses in when musea close down.
    All the memories of Greece and Italy flooded back!
    And indeed there are places best to be savoured in solitude! Poetry also lives there.

    • I agree.

      We just had a very nice evening with two friends (so much for social distancing! I couldn’t help kissing the two ladies goodbye as we saw them off at the top of the hill), but I am / we are definitely enjoying – despite the horror – this time of quiet and solitude.

      I knew you would understand.


  4. Robin

    So beautifully soothing. That’s one thing I’ve been noticing here on the Coast: people are being extraordinarily kind, patient, generous, thoughtful, compassionate. So thank you very much for adding another element of beauty and generosity by sharing all that with us, dearest N.

    Not sure if the stores there are experiencing shortages, and you’ve probably heard about the insane toilet paper “situation” elsewhere, but when I went to buy groceries a couple of days ago I saw a display of tp, two packages of 15 rolls for the price of one (that in itself lovely and non-gouging). People were calmly picking up two packages each and putting them in their cart. That, right now, to me, is the height of civilization.

    Strange times.

    • Strange times indeed – but wonderful to read about.

      Toilet roll is less of an issue when you have fancy Japanese hi-tech toilets!

      • Robin

        Talk about contrast. We’ve got many an outhouse with pit toilet a hundred feet down a wooded path from the cabin. Toilet paper is a big step up from my grandma’s outhouse back in the seventies with a Sears catalogue or last week’s newspaper hanging from a nail!

      • Lovely images and memories, but as Brian Eno said, HERE COME THE WARM JETS

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