CATULLUS 14

Calvus, I didn’t know you hated me.
Or why send me such awful poetry?
I’d hate you back, but most assuredly
You’ll have some reason, though I cannot see
What I have done to earn this penalty.
Own up, some client sent them as your fee
– Gods strike him with a pox or strangury –
And you thought that you’d share the misery.
Or is it some new and subtle tyranny
of Sulla’s? Such an awful enemy –
for you to have as client. Thankfully
at least that means he paid. I’d gladly flee
a room in that book’s vague vicinity..
A gift that poisons eyes, quite mortally,
At Saturnalia too, a upas tree
with candles. Next week, if my time is free
I’ll fly round bookshops, buzzing like a bee
And bring you poisoned honey. One, two, three
big scrolls of rotten poets. Imagery
and meter that’s a putrid mockery…
And as for you, you little library
of awful stuff – Off with you before we
set fire to you or sink you in the sea.
Go where you got those feet that limpingly
eke out your lines. Then stop.

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About rozkaveney

Middleaged, trans, novelist, poet, activist
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One Response to CATULLUS 14

  1. the_maenad says:

    Ohhhhhhhh YES. What a SUPERB rhyme scheme/ending! This is even better than all those sonnets, Roz.

    (…and now I have to go and shampoo Tom Lehrer’s “L-Y” out of my mind…)

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