Saturday, 23 July 2011


Either get out the house or conform to my tastes, woman

Either get out the house or conform to my tastes, woman.
I’m no strait-laced old Roman.
I like prolonging the nights agreeably with wine: you, after one glass of water,
Rise and retire with an air of hauteur.
You prefer darkness: I enjoy lovemaking
With a witness – a lamp shining or the dawn breaking.
You wear bed-jackets, tunics, thick woollen stuff,
Whereas I think no woman on her back can ever be naked enough.
I love girls who kiss like doves and hang around my neck:
You give me the sort of peck
Due to your grandmother as a morning salute.
In bed, you’re motionless, mute –
Not a wriggle
Not a giggle –
As solemn as a priestess at a shrine
Proffering incense and pure wine.
Yet every time Andromache went for a ride
In Hector’s room, the household slaves used to masturbate outside;
Even modest Penelope, when Ulysses snored,
Kept her hand on the sceptre of her lord.
You refuse to be buggered; but it’s a known fact
That Gracchus’, Pompey’s and Brutus’ wives were willing partners in the act,
And that before Ganymede mixed Jupiter his tasty bowl
Juno filled the dear boy’s role.
If you want to be uptight – all right
By all means play Lucretia by day. But I need a Laïs at night.

trans by james michie


Roxana said...


what a way to start my saturday :-)
those details about Andromache and Penelope are just too much!

(shouldn't it be: by all means pLay Lucretia? i don't understand: pay Lucretia?)

are you into latin erotic poetry now? :-)

swiss said...

and corrected,,,

i had a wee bit of run of latin poetry there. it just makes me laugh. perhaps had they had more of that in my latin classes i might have paid more attention!