I Hate & Love *
by J.W. aka Greenpagan
"Live fast, die young, leave a beautiful corpse." **
The romance of the grave.
No afterlife. Only this life.
No gods except your brain.
No Goddess except Vagina & Valkyrie cohort.
The Muse poets & true saints sense it all. ***
No religion but you beside me.
Your smell your taste your cruel laughter.
I worship you til my last breath.
My seed spills on the ground.
You beat me until blood comes
from my eyes.
I hate you so much.
I love you too much.
I hate you so much.
I love you too much.
I curl up around your warm bee-hind in winter.
We play snap the towel,
hide the sausage,
with deep red wine & blue Valium breaks,
reading snatches of Thus Speaks Nietzsche's
damaged romantic philosophy.
For cappuccino & espresso drinkers,
for proud pussy hounds
thin-as-rake heroin addicts
for gray-bearded studs with young lady friends
treating them very delicately.
There's no other way in this
the last days of empire & our own
decline. We are enraged & engaged
in New Byzantium.
The meter of the poem is the elegiac couplet.
The contrast in feelings that love provokes is one of the most common subjects of today's world literature. The motif, however, is not original. Anacreon had already said:
Ἐρέω τε δηὖτε κοὐκ ἐρέω,
καὶ μαίνομαι κοὐ μαίνομαι.
I love and yet I do not love,
I am crazy and I am not crazy.
(fr. 46 Gentili)
But with Catullus there seems to be something more; it is of course the experience of trouble, like with Anacreon. But the drama is exacerbated by the sad realization that this trouble arises independently of the human will. It is beyond logic and only in the realm of feeling. The poet has perhaps no choice but to take note of the situation and suffer terribly (the verb excrucior literally means "to be put on the cross").
The poem Odi et Amo was set to music by Carl Orff as part of his Catulli Carmina (1943). It was also set by Jóhann Jóhannsson on his first album Englabörn (2002). The Dutch band Omnia has also set the poem to music (Sine Missione - 2000 & 2002, World of Omnia - 2009).
The poem contains 8 verbs, no adjectives, no nouns, and one pronoun. This reversal of normal poetic structure (usually mostly nouns and adjectives) is thought to emphasise the drama and conflicting emotions Catullus feels.
** Line 1: Spoken by the fictional character Nick Romano (played by John Derek) in the film Knock On Any Door .
*** See Thornton Wilder's play Our Town .
Emily: Oh, Mama, look at me one minute as though you really saw me. Mama, fourteen years have gone by. I'm dead. You're a grandmother, Mama! Wally's dead, too. His appendix burst on a camping trip to North Conway. We felt just terrible about it - don't you remember? But, just for a moment now we're all together. Mama, just for a moment we're happy. Let's really look at one another!...I can't. I can't go on.It goes so fast. We don't have time to look at one another. I didn't realize. So all that was going on and we never noticed. Take me back -- up the hill -- to my grave. But first: Wait! One more look. Good-bye , Good-bye world. Good-bye, Grover's Corners....Mama and Papa. Good-bye to clocks ticking....and Mama's sunflowers. And food and coffee. And new ironed dresses and hot baths....and sleeping and waking up. Oh, earth, you are too wonderful for anybody to realize you. Do any human beings ever realize life while they live it--every,every minute?
Stage Manager: No. (pause) The saints and poets, maybe they do some.
Emily: I'm ready to go back.
"Bobok" (Russian: Бобок ) is a short story by Fyodor Dostoyevsky that first appeared in 1873. The title can be translated from the Russian as meaning "little bean," and in the context of the story is taken to be synonymous with "nonsense."
The story is framed as an excerpt from the diary of a frustrated writer named Ivan Ivanovitch. One day he attends the funeral of a casual acquaintance and falls to contemplation in the graveyard. He hears the voices of the recently deceased and buried, and he listens to their conversation. They discuss card games and political scandals, and they have decided that the "inertia" of consciousness allows them to converse even while in the grave. As the deceased prepare to entertain themselves by revealing all of the shameful details of their earthly lives, Ivan Ivanovitch sneezes. The dead are silent afterward. Ivan Ivanovitch leaves the graveyard distressed that depravity exists even in the grave but hopeful that he may visit other cemeteries and finally have something to write about.
[Originally posted at NV in another form, Tue Aug 7, 2012.]