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Saturday, February 13, 2010

CATULLUS POEM 11, An Adaptation of an Ancient Roman Love Verse

An Adaptation of an Ancient Roman Love Verse

Christopher, Billy,

Hey guys! Do Stanley the favor, and tell her,
Tell her, whether he is afoot upon Indian Ocean shores,
And this time with his consort,
Glory maiden, whose girdle exacts a proportion,
And brings great joy to any man who accompanies it,
His new love, a love as beautiful, and thunderous
As waves which hammer across white beach,
And her voice, it echoes the sound of the sea,
And like the woman, herself, is magnificent,
She, how else might he describe her,
Another sensual gift born of the fruitful palms,

Or if he goes alone into the Ganges plain, and seeks
To follow the time line of empire and civilization,
Or turns to sign post pointing north
To the glacier’s cave, the river’s mouth,
Where sky animates the waters in spectrum of colors,
Which, when uplifted in awesome spray
Among the half-submerged rock and boulders,
Causes pilgrims to rub their eyes and wonder,
Assure themselves that they have not fallen to slumber,
And are awake, close to heaven are the Himalayas,

Tell her he is gone, that he has discovered new love,
Or he lives in a mountain cave, alone.

Or, should needs be, and Stanley must run even farther,
As if, he must vanish
So to escape her haunt, her awful memory,
And he sets blanket on sand in old Siam,
Where lovely Buddha women administer,
His every physical need, and teach religious tenants
That might bring soul to calm
And show person path to new knowledge,

Tell her, he travels to the Far East.

And should you hear that she still follows him,
You may note, but do not share with others,
He escapes to Australia,
First to the city, Perth, to acclimate himself to life
Where astrology fixes life chart
Under influence of the Southern Cross,
And should he not find peace.
On that island continent’s western shore,
Know he treks the long, highway east,
Traveling from mile post to mile post
Out from Bunbury toward the Outback,
Past roads with names like Starvation and Reptile,
Through the Nullabor, and then along South Coast
To Port Adelaide and across the eight hundred miles
To the docks and wharfs of Melbourne, and once there,
In Victoria, he turns to the North and East,
Travels Highway1 past Eden and Milton,
To find Gulburra, where he meets his Australia,
A bathing beauty, a blond and tall, true love,
A maid known for her moral character,
It happens while he walks out upon the sand,
Against the fair sky as the sea swells,
And it makes its great roll onto shore of Surf Beach.

Oh my friends, my good buddies, Billy, Christopher!
Ready, though you might wish to travel and visit,
To join me in this remote geography,
-- We all live according to Destiny’s will --
And you may believe me.
Happiness comes to all good men as do the rays,
The bright that comes to souls with summer’s sun,

Announce, would you please, would you let her know,
Yet before I departed, I had left these words?

Comrades, no need blunt my assessment,
Do not bother to ask that she forgive my unkindness.

Tell her, I tired of living beneath her continued deceit,
Her stubborn refusal ever admit the truth,
Her lie upon lie, until her and mine own head spin,
No real memory, no living history,
All concoction, each and every personal event,
She not remembering a word she said.

And let her live and love,
May she have three hundred lovers or more,
And disappoint whomever her unhappiness encounters,
That her self hatred destroys whatever hopes some
Good and noble might have,
Cursed are those who fail to discern her treachery!

Here I might cleave unto the words of Catullus,
When, once upon a time, and so long ago,
He realized the term, whore,
A word he meant to stand for her insatiable lying.

As for me, the love,
All that love which had been hers for the embracing,
My deep regard is gone and in this, our pagan world,
No forgiveness, no hope of the resurrection,
Any more than the flower,
Which farmer’s passing plow deracinates and cuts,
It has no future and never blooms, again.

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