RSS
Image

CATULLUS REDUX: A COMPLAINT

07 Aug
CATULLUS REDUX: A COMPLAINT

CATULLUS REDUX: A COMPLAINT

I’m in practice for something, already well practiced as
Poète maudit. It’s quite becoming my role, though
In this age of declension no need to suck wounds,
Moan and protest it’s the public is after my blood.
I haven’t been chasing whores around Rome, notes and
Records gone missing. There’s more than one kind of whore
And not every theft gets seen to be caught out red-handed
Meaning: I can’t hope to snatch back the time, effort and
Almost the virtue lost in pursuit of my rights to a voice
And proper vocation. For this one is left to pursue the trash
Of Sydney and London, often women – ‘Brides of Art’
Some might say – though just for good measure, throw in
Occasional unctuous males, pimps to the poncey
Publishing show. And that’s an empousa [1] it’s clear
Wouldn’t have me in print whether dead or alive.

I arouse the censor in every huckster of words
Who lives off state funds and awards for their spit and
Dribble of verse. No poem above thirty lines
For their magazine or else don’t use “conduct” or
“Bestow” – such words are by far too “archaic”,
They can’t be allowed to see publishers’ ink.[2] There’s
No need to swear to be judged indecent by the rubrics
Of dullards and blockheads all wanting the throne
Of the Caesars itself when it comes to creation.
Any excuse is better than none to swing the door shut
On their incestuous circles busy with nothing.

You’re wrong to assume there’s a Celtic exception [3]
In the new fangled empires of literary rot. I swear
It’s no better round Dublin. You could fashion performance
Obscene as Jim Joyce, but the problem right now is theme
Over words. The local low life, clique, class or whatever
They are, prefers turning the turf and gazing at farm mud
With Seamus, a poet who lacks an emotion the length of
His pen.[4]. But element earth is profound by default so
Suffices to win him a prize. It’s only below and to Hades
They won’t care to travel. Their poet’s corner can’t return
One civil line if you suggest that they go there. [5]
Not even bothered to look at or hear it – today
Such things can be called too “religious” – the truth is
You’ve no right to speak or to live outside their domain.

Then there’s the boys. In case you were feeling romantic,
Remember it’s only the Irish sod is perfectly sacred.
A poet of Erin who’ll sing of his nights with
The girls has no time for one with a fancy for guys.[6]
Puers [7] are still scarcely wanted in verse or in life
In the post holy secular isle of the saints.[8]
It’s not as though, speaking apart and speaking in prose,
I can’t get the atheists replying, Iris, Alain, André,[9]
The whole who’s who of rank unbelief. They will
Give a response but, just as with those in religion, from
The dishonourable club of the failed or the half bards
Expect to hear nothing, their vocation comes ripe with disdain.

Sailing Lake Garda is fine,[10] finding love is still better
But the West holds the same, the familiar obstructions;
Women aren’t friends to career or your name but are
Sirens, a promise of downfall. Verse is best when
It serves and accompanies life, so otherwise…silence.
Oh Rollan, why hesitate longer, for you islands
Farthest away. Fakarava! The name means where
All the gods dwell (or perhaps something else to suffice souls
For now).[11] Ireland goodbye, I’m not for your stirring
Of clods, I prefer warmer meetings of earth, sea and sky.
On welcoming sands there’s more time for kissing Iuventius’
Eyes by the thousand.[12] That wise child will shake out his curls
When not at our pleasure, in contempt for your world.

NOTES

[1] To Greeks and Romans the empousa was like a vampire, or image of horror.
[2] These are real objections one can meet in attempting to promote poetry. For the words like “conduct” and “bestow” being too archaic to be allowed publication in modern poetry see the Introduction to my Puer Poems which describes why this poet ceased writing poetry for a quarter of a century.
[3] Theoretically Ireland should be a refuge to any ancient or modern Catullus since it is widely believed Catullus, born in Cisalpine Gaul, was a Celt and some have found his rapid emotional transitions Celtic in feeling.
[4] Seamus Heaney is of course technically proficient as a poet or wordsmith, but arguably offers something closer to the whimsy as opposed to vision on which serious poetry must draw.
[5] Reference to certain outlets in Ireland who weren’t recently interested to consider The Hell Passage: Inferno Cantos for Today.
[6] Reference to the dismissive, ill mannered refusal many years ago of the author’s Puer Poems by a very heterosexual Irish poet, helping to seal the decision not to write poetry recorded in that collection’s introduction.
[7] Puer is Latin for boy and something of a symbol and archetype for things gay but the reference is as much to the poet’s mentioned Puer Poems collection loosely built around gay themes.
[8] Ireland is traditionally “the land of saints and scholars” but its religiosity has taken a battering and a degree of secularism kicked in following the excess of ecclesiastical and sex abuse scandals creating cynicism.
[9] No need to give the full names which anyone could guess. André particularly was a very notable writer and politician who took time to answer the poet’s questions of French and Irish literature with a graciousness not found among either poets or Christian theologians whose degree of silence over major issues they have refused to consider is rather disgusting as indicated in the feature of my Songs of Puritania blog.
[10] Catullus was very attached to his boat and he had been born at Sirmio on Lake Garda.
[11] Fakarava is an island made famous by such visitors as Robert Louis Stevenson and Matisse. It literally means Vat of Pearls, but since Polynesian gods can be symbolized as pearls, I am assured that local understanding was this island of French Polynesia (Tahiti) was the home of all gods. Many English speaking people however seem determined to think the name of this exquisite atoll simply must be involved with Tahiti’s erotic reputation.
[12] Iuventius was the name of Catullus’ chief boyfriend. The poet appears to have been bisexual but he promised Iuventius thirty thousand kisses on his eyes.

Advertisements
 
2 Comments

Posted by on August 7, 2013 in Uncategorized

 

Tags: , , , ,

2 responses to “CATULLUS REDUX: A COMPLAINT

  1. Barbara Ybarra

    August 12, 2013 at 4:43 pm

    Glad you got this said, Rollan, and I hope the message travels well. Of all places to become cliquish about words, Ireland should be ashamed of itself. Roll over in your grave, Yeats, your country has pulled its holy shroud upon the living!

     
  2. TruthSeeker

    September 13, 2013 at 1:51 am

    Reblogged this on truthcking.

     

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

 
%d bloggers like this: