My favorite poems

Just to stretch Writing 201: Poetry’s weekend assignment just a little bit longer, I’ll share my favorite poems with you in this post.

J.J. Slauerhoff – Morgen rijd ik (Tomorrow I will meet)

Morgen rijd ik - Slauerhoff

Jan Slauerhoff was a Dutch symbolic poet, often called the poète maudit of the Netherlands. His poems are full of fantasy and imagination, taking you to another time and place.  I tried to translate it to English keeping the rhyme and rhythm, but poetry is often one of those things that get lost in translation:

Tomorrow I will meet you with fragant flowers

I cannot wait any longer, finally I will know how

you are, the flowers will betray you

If you’re loveless, they will wither and die

If desire yearns you, their smell will intensify

If desire burns you, their buds will tear

And you with one hand the dress that you wear.

Catullus 5

Live life and love - catullus 5

In high school I had to read Catullus amongst other Latin authors. As with school curriculum goes, I forgot most of the stuff I had to learn, but this poem stuck with me. I love the optimistic carpe diem vibe it excudes, that feeling like there’s no tomorrow when you’re in love.

Vivamus, mea Lesbia, atque amemus,

rumoresque senum severiorum

omnes unius aestimemus assis!

soles occidere et redire possunt;

nobis, cum semel occidit brevis lux,

nox est perpetua una dormienda.

da mi basia mille, deinde centum,

dein mille altera, dein secunda centum,

deinde usque altera mille, deinde centum;

dein, cum milia multa fecerimus,

conturbabimus illa, ne sciamus,

aut ne quis malus invidere possit

cum tantum sciat esse basiorum.

Especially in lines 1-3 when he says something like

“Let of live and love, my Lesbia, the talk of old people is not worth a dime!”

And I like the vivid image he describes when he’s kissing his girl all over:

“Kiss me a thousand times, and then another thousand,

and another thousand, and then another, and then,

when we kissed so many thousand kisses,

let’s shuffle them so no one will know

and be able to speak evil

of the many kisses there were.”

You can read the official English translation here.

Inspiration is timeless!

xoxo – Irene

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