Monday 16 October 2017

Catullus LXXXV

odi et amo. quare id faciam fortasse requiris?
nescio sed fieri sentio et excrucior.
— Catullus
It is the prerogative of first-time lovers
To claim yourselves the creators
Of the language of romance. I know that.
And yet, if in singing to uncomprehending Latins
About things that did really did not as yet have names,
If in locating the precise intersection
Of friendship, obligation and desire,
If in explaining what it is to find yourself
One of many and only one of many
And never more than one of many,
If in curdling inside and
Calling her obscene and calling worse things
And yet still closing my eyes and seeing
That full red lower lip, that cream-white throat,
Those soft pale upper arms around which
I could close my fingers without hurting her,
If in remembering her salt and wit and filthy lovely laugh,
If in being crucified across loathing and wanting
I failed to see that I was a true pioneer of heartbreaks,
What difference will it make?
You will be able to invent all these things yourselves
Perfectly well without me.