You, me and Sapho
Lua’s feet guided her through her home, the forest. The autumn leaves spun before her eyes so quickly and beautifully that all she could see was a blur of orange, red, and green until she landed her pirouette. She set forth down the autumn-ridden path, sharing a golden smile of pride with the beautiful world around her. The exhilarating yet grounding sound of ancient poetry travelled from her tongue to the crisp autumn air. Her passion for poetry was everlasting, deep, and beautiful. Her appreciation for the way in which words are strung together ever so beautifully and perfectly was like no other.
She let the words of Sappho’s poetry fall from the page, onto her tongue. “Iridescent-throned Aphrodite, deathless child of Zeus, wile-weaver I now implore you.” Lua sang this passage of Sappho's great poetry to the leaves, eagerly listening to the forbidden words that have escaped her tongue. No matter how many times these loving words slipped her tongue, they would never become old, ruined, or boring. Nothing in Lua’s world would ever become bland. Everything was either old, comforting, and warm, or new, electrifying and irresistible. Sappho’s words, especially, were everlasting words of love that forever stayed true and loyal to Lua’s moonlight heart.
She ran to dip her toes into the warm, sunlit water bringing some of her moonshine to the clear and flat face of the lake. Without Lua, the lake would be still, dead, and lifeless. This water gave her a purpose, meaning. A life. The fish danced around her feet as the ends of her dark black dress soaked in the natural, clear, and breathtakingly large body of pure and clean water. She read her poetry to the eager waves. She spent her days imagining Sappho was standing right in front of her, telling her of her loves, hardships, and break ups. Or better yet, imagining that she was Sappho. That she was in love with Aphrodite, that she could describe the pure beauty of her love with such eloquence and grace. Lua briefly forbade these ancient words of love from escaping her mouth to take a deep breath. She couldn’t wait to meet her love sometime, up there.
The natural beauty of the lake and the sky brought Lua to her favourite place, her mind. Her mind flooded with love stories, tragedies, and imagery. Her mind was as complicated as a universe; full of planets, stars, tides, moonlight, sunlight and eclipses. Her mind was her favourite place to go, and the blissful view of the world around her carried her there. Lua looked down at the water. She could see her dark curly hair tied up in two buns and her long black ripped dress flowing down from her shoulders straight to where the water met the life-giving air.
Lua’s life can be a little lonely sometimes. Sometimes the loneliness got to her, and sometimes she enjoyed it. Sometimes she appreciated the sweet serenity of silence. Other times, she felt she would do anything to have another person paint on the canvas of silence with her. Once upon a time, Lua had met another young girl, Cyrus.
Cyrus had the type of pure beauty that inspired poets like Sappho. Her smile radiated pure rays of sunshine, and she had deep, earthy, and perfectly calming brown eyes. She was the reincarnation of the girls she had read about in Sappho’s poetry, and was everything she could imagine loveliness to be. Every once in a while she would stumble across this sun goddess’ beauty. She wondered why this sun would come here and stumble across this moon during the night. The sun was supposed to be up in the sky, lighting up the world during the day, and sleeping in the night. Whereas Lua, the moon, was supposed to just be alone in the night. Was Cyrus looking for something? Someone? Did she live here as well? As beautiful as the forest was, a pure sun like Cyrus could not survive there. So many thoughts and questions flooded her moonlit brain that she thought it best not to think of it for too long. She might as well focus on lighting up her night.
A few sunsets later, the moon goddess passed the sun goddess once again. Then again, and again. The sun had left bright yellow flowers by the moon’s favourite spot, the lake. As confused as Lua was, she was honoured. Perhaps Cyrus’ mind was as flooded with as many thoughts of the moon as hers was the sun. Lua pushed her gentle tides in and out until her mind had flooded so deeply with calmness and strength that she was left with nothing but the pure beauty of her own thoughts; thoughts of none other but her sun goddess.
Suddenly, she heard a soft voice sing in the back of her ear. The voice was gentle and grounding, yet powerful and bright. She turned around, astonished, and standing before her very eyes was her sun goddess, Cyrus.
“Um... hello? How did you find me? Do you know who I am?” Lua asked, trembling with both fear and excitement.
Cyrus simply placed her warm, daylight hand on Lua’s cold, nighttime shoulder.
“I am going to take you somewhere. I want to show you something.” Cyrus grabbed Lua’s rocky hand and sprinted towards the water with her.
Cyrus’ white dress danced in the wind and her blond hair jumped up and down and side to side as she ran to her old kayak. Lua would give anything to simply breathe the same air as Cyrus, however she stopped in her tracks. Lua was but a rock in the sky in which light radiated off of. Cyrus was the light. Cyrus was the beam of light in which Lua envied, watched, and loved. To have a goddess come along to shine a light on her cold, lonely self was all she ever could have dreamed of.
“Come on, get in! Don’t be afraid!” Cyrus said in response to Lua’s hesitation. Lua put her hand on Cyrus’ and let her guide her into the kayak.
Lua’s stomach twisted, half with fear, and half with excitement. Who was this girl? Why did she not answer her questions? How long had Cyrus been watching Lua? Did she know her secret? However, at the same time, Lua did not care about these things anymore. After all, a literal sun goddess was right in front of her. She was amazed by her beauty. How could one be so brave as to stand in her presence? The blazing light her beauty gave off made it hard, yet breathtakingly magical to even be in Cyrus’ presence.
“I’ve noticed you live in the forest alone. I’ve found that particularly difficult to figure out.” Cyrus remarked.
Lua started trembling. How did Cyrus know? Was she watching her? Lua promised herself she would never tell anyone her secret, even someone as lovely as Cyrus.
“I can’t tell you that. It’s a secret.” Lua responded.
“You are full of mysteries, aren’t you? What do you do with your free time, then? I suppose it must get fairly tedious living in your own company all the time.”
“I think,” Lua responded, her voice shaking. “I like to think about things. You know, the type of things philosophers and poets would think of. Thinking about things truly lights up the night. Perhaps not as strong as a sun could light up a day, but as a moon lights up the night with the help of the stars.”
Lua panicked. Had she just revealed her secret? She thought that was a clever metaphor, but perhaps Cyrus could see through the metaphors, personifications and similes in her speech. Perhaps she could see Lua for who she was: the moon. Cyrus gave a mischievous smirk.
“Although the moon may not see its own beauty and wisdom, or tell how brightly it can light up the night, I think the moon is rather magnificent.” Cyrus said.
Cyrus smiled at Lua and kept paddling. Lua watched her break the clear and peaceful top of the lake with an old, wooden paddle. Through the lily pads and fish they travelled, carried on the back of the clear and warm water. Cyrus’ angelic white dress loomed over parts of the canoe. Her long golden hair shone in the moonlight and the dusty pink flowers ensconced in her hair fit in perfectly with Cyrus’ natural and glowing beauty. Cyrus was the personification of pure, golden, sunlight.
The sun and the moon eventually arrived at the most marvellous garden Lua had ever seen. Whatever piece of Earth this place was seemed to be completely covered in a honey glaze lens. Her eyes were so astonished by the yellow, red, pink, and orange colour scheme everywhere she dared to look.
“This is my home!” Cyrus told Lua. Lua was caught purely star struck and lost for words by the beauty of this nature. Cyrus couldn’t help but chuckle at her amazement. They walked through the flowerbeds, maple trees, and cherry blossoms, holding each other's hand.
“Do you believe in ‘right person at the wrong time’?” Cyrus asked. Usually, Lua would hide, ensconced in her anxiety and hesitation during conversations like these. But with Cyrus, the words beautifully, precisely, and perfectly slid off her tongue.
“I don't know. I mean when love happens, sure, it’s beautiful. But what strikes me is the odds of that ever happening. Two people who just so happen to feel the same way towards each other at the right time at the right place. It’s a wonder it ever happens in the first place.”
“It is a wonder for sure. A beautiful wonder. Maybe that is why love is so breathtakingly magical. The chances are fairly slim and I'd suppose if you spend your whole life getting heartbroken one relationship after another, one kiss after another, one bigot after another, it all must seem so perfectly hopeless. Maybe, just maybe, when it does work out, that's why it is so breathtaking. Could we ever love without pain my dear Lua?”
“Of course we can. I love things that have never hurt me.”
“Though you are sweet, I believe you are wrong, my love. Would my eyes, my hair, my freckles be so gorgeous if there were no others in the world? For I love my cat, but would I love him the same if no worse cat existed?”
“Perhaps, but not the same. I suppose you're right. You have the mind of a thousand.”
Cyrus blushed and kept on walking. They ended up enjoying each other’s company so extraordinarily that they talked from dusk straight to dawn, without a thought of where they should be, or what the next day would bring. This type of love was so pure that it was all they could ever dream of, all one could ever read about in a classic love story. Suddenly, the poems that Sappho wrote made more sense to Lua. She could easily string together an infinite amount of words of love if Cyrus was the subject.
However, eventually, their time ran out. Lua had to return to the sky and Cyrus had to prepare her pink and orange paints for when she rises in the morning. The sun and the moon, a classic love story with the happiest of endings. Lighting up each night and each morning, for all pieces of earth to witness. However, they both learned a valuable lesson. Love is complicated. It is not black and white. Love doesn’t have to last forever for it to be true. They have their own lives, own responsibilities and they shouldn’t have to compromise them for anything. Lua was in love with the moon, and Cyrus was in love with the sun. That was more than enough for them.
Rae Steeves is a 16 year old activist and poet.