On this day in 1892 the author, poet and gardener Vita Sackville West was born. Married to the brilliant writer and politician Sir Harold Nicholson with whom she had two children, Vita is famous for the series of passionate affairs that she conducted with people of both sexes.
‘She was Lady Chatterley and her lover rolled into one’, as one commentator put it. They had an open marriage, but a very happy one that seems to have lasted well and they were devoted to each other. Together they bought Sissinghurst Castle in Kent and lovingly restored it with beautiful gardens.
She wrote tender, emotional poetry to several lovers, including Virginia Woolf, and would certainly have known and appreciated this fragment from the Greek poetess Sappho, writing on the Isle of Lesbos around 600 BC – Come to Me Here from Crete:
Come to me here from Crete,
To this holy temple, where
Your lovely apple grove stands,
And your altars that flicker
And below the apple branches, cold
Clear water sounds, everything shadowed
By roses, and sleep that falls from
Bright shaking leaves.
And a pasture for horses blossoms
With the flowers of spring, and breezes
Are flowing here like honey:
Come to me here,
Here, Cyprian, delicately taking
Nectar in golden cups
Mixed with a festive joy,
To listen to this poem, click here
Today I give thanks for all the eccentrics and individuals in the world who are not afraid to show themselves as they really are.