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A Poet's Journal: February 4th, 2014

February 4th, 2014

It is in our nature to fashion understanding after intellect; from the first breath of consciousness it has been said that man is the thinking animal and whether we agree or not, the tradition with which our thoughts move is to place one object up against another, or one thought or memory up against another, and proceed through reasoning or logic to come up with a strategy that will invariably prove or not prove that one is better or worse than the other.  We place upon the scale of importance efficiency and fact, and hold with words those ideas and matters of thought that have not yet been fully understood.  To speak, or more generally, to use the senses, is our way to enlighten understanding, whereupon it is only those things that are left unsaid, or that have yet been revealed, that the intellect truly understands.  By the concept and definition of a word, we give boundary, by which is meant exclusion, so that the objective reality that we come to take as truth w…

A New Translation of Catullus!

Here is a new translation of Catullus: please scroll down to read or visit the Society of Classical Poets by clicking on the following link: A Translation of Catullus’s ‘Ad Sirmium Insulam’ by Douglas Thornton

The important events in the life of Gaius Valerius Catullus (84-54 B.C.) are recounted through the poems he has left.  The particular poem below was written on his return from Asia Minor, where he had attempted at a public career by following Memmius, the patron of the poet Lucretius, into the province of Bithynia.  But his hopes being dashed, he took refuge after the long journey at his home in the present-day village of Sirmione, in northern Italy, on Lake Garda.

Ad Sirmium Insulam

Of the islands which in stagnant
Waters and vast seas Neptune holds,
Sirmio--the pearl of islands!--
Now my heart with you rejoices
Safe and sound, still scarce believing
Thynia and Bithynian
Fields have gone.  What more fortunate
Care, after so many struggles,
When the mind shrugs off its burden,
Dr…