CLIVE JAMES WRITES A POEM BASED ON POEMS OF CATULLUS. I posted here about the Clive James poem “The Book of My Enemy Has Been Remaindered”.
Here is a poem by James based on fragments of the poems of Catullus (posted at the Unknown Magazine website):
My girlfriend’s sparrow is dead. It is an ex-sparrow.
Where it once hopped about between her knees,
Today it limps along the same dark road
I’ve come to know too well since she denied me
The pathway to her lap. Cruel Lesbia,
You asked for this, your sparrow with its feet
Turned upward as yours were when in the throes
Of love. If I say ‘Screw it, it’s just a sparrow’
I court your wrath, or, worse , your cold rejection;
But I can live with that though you weep floods,
Since I have friends who steer well clear of war.
Give me charm over courage every time:
The ease of bantering chaps, a faithful love
From women or even for them, so long as they
Don’t pester me like you and your dumb sparrow.
Remember when I asked for a thousand kisses?
Let’s make it ten. Why not just kiss me once?
For I, tear-drenched as when my brother died,
Miss you the way you miss that stupid bird:
Excruciating. Let’s live and let’s love.
Our brief light spent, night is an endless sleep.