Thursday, September 6, 2007

Wind + Water = Don't Trust Women

Nulli se dicit mulier mea nubere malle
........quam mihi, non si se Iuppiter ipse petat.
dicit: sed mulier cupido quod dicit amanti, vento et rapida scribere oportet aqua.

Words written in the wind and rushing water. Catullus deals here in Carmen 70 with the idea of impermanence in his relationship -- he cannot trust Lesbia when she says that she would not prefer to marry Jupiter than him. He cannot trust her, the woman who says she would rather bind her life to his than to a god's. It's terribly poignant, this poem of uncertainty, flavored by the possibility of betrayal. She says this... but her words should be written in the wind or in rushing water. Beautifully transient, these elements are the only proper media for her pledges of love.

Heart-wrenching. Absolutely tear-jerking. I love it.
Life is transient. Life is short. Life is a patchwork of moments and brief periods of bliss and pain. Catullus had his bliss and now can see the edge of the patch. He's doubting the infinitude of their love. And with good reason. Lesbia was a tramp and breaks men's loins en masse.

Doubt is the heart of this poem and impermanence is the weekend forecast. It happens -- doubt and impermanence are everywhere in the modern world as well. Couples break up in the halls on my way to class and in the news daily. K-Fed and Britney. Brad Pitt and Jennifer Anniston. Bennifer. Marilyn Monroe and DiMaggio. All things end and our celebrities simply blow the phenomenon onto our big screen TVs, reinforcing our own doubts.

As for me, I can think of nothing better than to have my words written on the wind and the water. Or perhaps to be the wind and the water, rushing by all the solid obstacles to fluidity. Or flexibility, as Bob would have me say. Inconstant. Unbound. Free.

Now playing: Sinéad O'Connor - Paddy's Lament
via FoxyTunes



Kelsey2 said...

Ha, fluidity.
You know who IS the wind and the water?

pdiddles said...

Catullus is brilliant!

Notice how he creates the idea of wind and
rapid water in the final line,
in vento et rapida aqua scribere oportet.
Where vento et, rapida aqua elide and the words flow as water or wind...