Jan 252013

Come here, nasty words, so many I can hardly
tell where you all came from.
That ugly slut thinks I’m a joke
and refuses to give us back
the poems, can you believe this shit?
Lets hunt her down , and demand them back!
Who is she, you ask? That one, who you see
strutting around, with ugly clown lips,
laughing like a pesky French poodle.
Surround her, ask for them again!
“Rotten slut, give my poems back!
Give ’em back, rotten slut, the poems!”
Doesn’t give a shit? Oh, crap. Whorehouse.
or if anything’s worse, you’re it.
But I’ve not had enough thinking about this.
If nothing else, lets make that
pinched bitch turn red-faced.
All together shout, once more, louder:
“Rotten slut, give my poems back!
Give ’em back, rotten slut, the poems!”
But nothing helps, nothing moves her.
A change in your methods is cool,
if you can get anything more done.
“Sweet thing, give my poems back!”

Translation by Richard Bullington

 Comments Off on Catullus 42: “Come here, nasty words…”
Jan 172013

Egnatius, because he has bright white teeth,
always smiles: If someone comes to the defendant’s
bench, when the speaker arouses weeping,
he grins; If there is weeping at the funeral pyre of
a dutiful son, when the bereaved mother laments her only son,
he grins. Whatever it is, wherever he is,
whatever he is doing, he grins: he has this disease,
neither elegant, as I think, nor refined.
Therefore I must warn you, my good Egnatius.
If you were a city man or a Sabine or a Tiburnan
or a thrifty Umbrian or a fat Etruscan
or a swarthy or toothy Lanuvian or
a Transpadane, to touch on my own people as well,
or anyone you like who cleans his teeth with clean water,
I still should not want you to smile on all occasions:
for nothing is more silly than a silly smile.
Now you are a Celtiberian: in the land of Celtiberia,
whatever each man has urinated, with this he is accustomed
in the morning to rub his teeth and gums until they are red,
so that the more polished those teeth of yours are,
the more urine they proclaim you to have drunk.

 Comments Off on Catullus 39: …nothing is more silly than a silly smile
Aug 262011

Looking across
The water we are
Startled by a star –
It is not dark yet
The sun has just set

Looking across
The water we are
Alone as that star
That startled us,
And as far

 Comments Off on Samuel Menashe: Twilight
Apr 252011

You had one life,
And you blew it.

From sticky spunk
To human shape,
You spent ten months
In your mother’s womb,
Blocked off from the world
Into which you fell
The minute you were born.
A child once,
You’re an old man now.
What has happened has happened.
Crying won’t help
When death already
Has you by the balls.
It’s counting your breaths,

This world, says Kabir,
Is a gambling den.
You can’t be too careful.

From Songs of Kabir, translated by Arvind Krishna Mehrotra.

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Apr 212011

O, WHO shall from this dungeon raise
A soul enslaved so many ways ?
With bolts of bones, that fettered stands
In feet, and manacled in hands ;
Here blinded with an eye, and there
Deaf with the drumming of an ear ;
A soul hung up, as ’twere, in chains
Of nerves, and arteries, and veins ;
Tortured, besides each other part,
In a vain head, and double heart ?

O, who shall me deliver whole,
From bonds of this tyrannic soul ?
Which, stretched upright, impales me so
That mine own precipice I go ;
And warms and moves this needless frame,
(A fever could but do the same),
And, wanting where its spite to try,
Has made me live to let me die
A body that could never rest,
Since this ill spirit it possessed.

What magic could me thus confine
Within another’s grief to pine ?
Where, whatsoever it complain,
I feel, that cannot feel, the pain ;
And all my care itself employs,
That to preserve which me destroys ;
Constrained not only to endure
Diseases, but, what’s worse, the cure ;
And, ready oft the port to gain,
Am shipwrecked into health again.

But Physic yet could never reach
The maladies thou me dost teach ;
Whom first the cramp of hope does tear,
And then the palsy shakes of fear ;
The pestilence of love does heat,
Or hatred’s hidden ulcer eat ;
Joy’s cheerful madness does perplex,
Or sorrow’s other madness vex ;
Which knowledge forces me to know,
And memory will not forego ;
What but a soul could have the wit
To build me up for sin so fit ?
So architects do square and hew
Green trees that in the forest grew.

 Comments Off on Andrew Marvell: “A Dialogue Between the Soul and Body”