Poems

and their aspects

The Author

Sappho was a greek poet born around 615 B.C. She was part of an Aristocratic family and lived on the island of Lesbos. As an adult, Sappho ran an academy for young, unwed women. Her poetry became very well-known, and Plato even referred to her as "the tenth muse". She was believed to have been a lebsian, even having a lover known as "Anakatoria". The cause of her death around 550 B.C. is unknown. in 1073, Pope Gregory VIII had her poetry burned in Rome and Constantinople.

Some Say Calvary

"Some Say Calvary" is one of Sappho's most famous poems. Important poetic terms:


  • Imagery: descriptive or figurative language. Ex: a fleet of long oars
  • Allusion- reference to other works of literature or events in history
  • Priamel- list of "foil" words or phrases to describe emotions and relate true theme of poem

Literary Devices

Imagery. The author uses descriptive language in order to provide her audience with a strong mental image. By using phrases like "a fleet of long oars" or her warm supple step", the reader can get a good idea of what the author was seeing and what she wrote about. It adds to the intensity and depth of the poem.
Allusions. In the poem, Sappho makes an allusion to Greek mythology. She refers to the beautiful Helen, who sails off to Troy and leaves her family behind. She deserts them in order to find love. Sappho relates this to personal experience, mentioning her friend by the name of Anakotoria. She describes how far away her lover is, and how nothing is more important than to see her. Love means more to Sappho than power, war, or wealth. She states that some may consider the "supreme sight on this black earth" to be chariots, infantry, or weapons. This author feels that the most important thing in the world is to love, as well as be loved.
Priamel. The author uses this term to compare war to love. She talks about an infantry, and then in the next line mentions the one you love. This contrast provides a "foil" to show the emotion of the poem. It helps the author to convey the true theme of the poem: love reigns over everything.

The Author

Faiz Ahmed Faiz was born in India in 1911. He grew up in a wealthy family and attended a famous school known as Moulvi Ibrahim Sialkoti. He studied many languages, and then continued on to pursue a teaching career. When he began poetry, his works were light, airy, and focused on love. Later on, his poetry evolved to focus on politics, community, and inner-self. In 1951, he and a few military officers were arrested and charged with the Rawalpindi Conspiracy Case. He was in prison for four years, and even wrote about life in prison. He won the Lenin Peace Prize in 1963, and was praised for being able to incorporate social and political issues into his poems. Faiz died in 1984.

We Who Were Executed

"We Who Were Executed" is a famous poem written by Faiz. Important terms:


  • Metaphor- word or phrase is applied to object or action not necessarily applicable
  • Imagery- descriptive or figurative language
  • Personifcation- human characteristics given to nonhuman objects
  • Repetition- continued use of words or phrases

Literary Devices

Metaphors. The author uses metaphors to add detail and give the reader a good image in their mind. Faiz compares lips to roses, saying, "I longed for your lips, dreamed of their roses". This shows how the author viewed their lips are something beautiful and that represents how much they love them.
Imagery. Faiz uses descriptive language throughout his work "We Who were Executed". He describes someone dying as "still beautiful, color kept clinging to your lips, rapture was still vivid in your hair..." to show how much they esteemed whoever they were writing too. This enriches the depth of the poem.
Personification. The author writes "these matters.....brought me to the execution grounds". This helps to show cause and effect, and the result of certain situations. It shows that choices ,and the situation that the subjects of the poem were in, led to them being killed. This leads to reader to believe that the circumstances were serious.
Repetition. The phrase "I was murdered" is repeated throughout the poem. It shows that the narrator feels pain at how they were killed. It was not a jubilant situation, and the word "murder" hints at a tone of resentment. There is a lot of pain and bitterness in this poem.