Saturday, 3 July 2010

Ave Atque Vale

The Poetry Bus this week has been driven by The Weaver of Grass...

Ave Atque Vale

after Catullus


I've travelled half way round the world
with this last gift, a gift of words.

Your ashes are lost for a reply:
Fate has stolen you away from me.

O brother, who suffered this indignity,
receive (it was our parent's way:
no other way will do)
this gift, sad offering to the dead,
soaked in my tears. For all eternity,
my brother: Hail and Adieu.


After Catullus: not a literal translation of, but quite close to. I've provided the original below. Even if -like me- you don't do Latin, it sounds so sad when you've read an English version and grasp the broad sweep of its meaning:

10 comments:

AquaMarina said...

oh, that's very sad, you convey the feelings in a true and poignant way

Derrick said...

I'm so glad you provided the English! Sad indeed and beautifully expressed. We must learn to offer words when their sincerity can best be appreciated and not when it is too late.

I'm a new passenger on the bus. You'll find mine here:

http://melrosemusings.blogspot.com/2010/07/chatting-on-bus.html

Totalfeckineejit said...

Can't understand a word of the original but I really like what you have conjured up in English.Interesting thing to do, I likes it!It actually makes you feel sad instead of just thinking it.

George said...

A moving translation, Dominic, even if is not literal. Thanks for this little jewel.

Poet in Residence said...

Well, Dominic, I've no excuse. I'll wait at the end of the lane. The lady bus driver will weave competently round any tractors.

The Weaver of Grass said...

That is more to my liking - there is a gentleness to it but I can't explain why.

Peter Goulding said...

Can I sit next to Catullus on the Bus? Actually, maybe not, considering some of his other poetry.
The poet's eulogy - it really hits the mark. How many modern poets will still be translated in 2000 years?

Titus said...

A little jewel is right. Beautiful writing, thank you.

I want to sit next to Catullus on the Bus!

Enchanted Oak said...

I came, I saw, I was conquered by your poem.

Jeanne Iris said...

These words place the reader on a journey that embraces the human quality of melancholy.