Thursday, October 27, 2011

Life List: Memorize & Internalize 10 Poems

I've always liked memorizing poems, and since memorizing 10 is on my life list, I figured I'd bring us on a guided tour through the ones I've already memorized, and how they've treated me through the years.

Catullus II

Passer, deliciae meae puellae,
quicum ludere, quem in sinu tenere,
cui primum digitum dare appetenti
et acris solet incitare morsus,
cum desiderio meo nitenti
carum nescio quid lubet iocari
et solaciolum sui doloris,
credo ut tum grauis acquiescat ardor:
tecum ludere sicut ipsa possem
et tristis animi leuare curas!
TAM gratum est mihi quam ferunt puellae
pernici aureolum fuisse malum,
quod zonam soluit diu ligatam.

The second poem I memorized, "Catullus II," was in my eleventh grade Latin class.  The class was wonderful - I loved learning Latin, I loved the teacher (who would let us order bacon-egg-and-cheese breakfast sandwiches in class and wrote me one of the kindest letters of recommendation I've ever read), and I loved that I was asked to memorize a poem.  This poem is a really great one.  If you don't read Latin (and, um, I definitely never really got the hang of it, so no shame there), this is a pretty basic translation. Ostensibly, it is a poem about a pet sparrow belonging to Catullus's lover, Lesbia.  The poem apparently inspired a number of other poems about lovers' pets, which seems like a great topic to me.  And, I can't remember if my Latin teacher told us this or not, but some people think the sparrow is really a metaphor for the penis.  I feel like I should go and write a pet/penis poem right now.           

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