Catullus 11

Maybe the reason why it is so easy to take a lot of these and abridge them into sonnets is that the whole idea of the turn – the volta – in the last six lines is something that Renaissance poets got from Catullus in the first place…


I know, boys, that you’d go to Timbuktu
for me. To the North Pole, the South one too.
You’d mingle with Jivaros who shrink heads
Or with the gentle Japanese, whose beds

are hard if you’re not used to them. You’d go
look at the Pyramids, eat Eskimo
cuisine, swim with piranhas, burn your feet
on Iceland’s lava. If you want to treat

me right, you’ll go and tell her, where she fucks
three hundred men queued up – The stupid schmucks
she drains the juice from them and breaks their balls,
up that back alley with the come-smeared walls –

She snapped my heart off, like the flowers some man
drives over in your garden in his van.

About rozkaveney

Middleaged, trans, novelist, poet, activist
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3 Responses to Catullus 11

  1. Hi Roz,

    It’s Jude, from the SFF masterclass. Just thought I’d let you know I added you.

    Also, I’m looking for recs for feminist/gender-aware short stories by British authors, to teach next semester. Any suggestions?

  2. anef says:

    I like your version a lot. Must go and re-read the original.

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