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.

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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