Tuesday, November 17, 2009

The Great Divide Between One and the Next

Odi et Amo
I hate and love. Why? You may ask but
I know not. I feel it done to me, and ache.

This poem by Catullus (84-54 B.C.) applies to love in duty, too, when one's return gives nothing but torture or frustration.
Literature is one way we grasp what we do not know, or cannot ask, or cannot tell others.
Sometimes we struggle with our own words for the wordless.
Sometimes we need a poet like Wilfred Owen, who had been there, done that, described in detail.
Sometimes one like Catullus, who brought it down to two lines and let us fill in the blanks.
Trans. Ezra Pound

3 comments:

Slamdunk said...

"Literature is one way we grasp what we do not know, or cannot ask, or cannot tell others."

Excellent point. In some ways, this element of reflection makes literature more difficult than math.

Christopher said...

Beautiful, yet haunting, poem.

Ann T. said...

I have a blank book filled with poems I re-wrote into it. Not my poems, but just great stuff from other people.

The first one broke, you see, and I had to do it again-- :-)