I am a great proponent of the wisdom that one can happen upon whilst taking a shower. Perhaps the clash of steam against the icy tiles is the true culprit of inspiration, but I like to think that it’s my iPod, which I take into the shower with me every day (not before I seal it in a plastic baggie, of course).After receiving an email from dearest editor Jordan that detailed my assignment and the nature of the piece, I wandered around in a confused daze, memorizing a few Catullus poems before hopping into the shower. Then, and only then, did I allow myself to truly think about the prompt: love, in all its forms.
“Time may turn the leaves / It’s so inevitable that we / Will eventually see / Another spring again… / On that you can depend.”
Perhaps, yes, perhaps that was love, an “inevitable,” unconditional force that controlled the “spring” of our hearts, a system on which “you can depend.” But no, was this too simple? Was this not a song of waning love? And could love be defined as something so trivial, so overworked as “spring?” “Iam ver egelidos refert tepores,” after all; perhaps these chilly warmths were the essence of love, or the result of lost love, and as we all know, the dactyls and spondees never lie.
“The tide may move the sea / But it’s inevitable that we / Will eventually see / These waters rise again… / On that you can depend.”
But no, perhaps this song was in fact about the return of love, the joy of reunion, the possibility of one more chance, the idea that you can be forgiven. Yes, yes, you are everything to me; you hold me like I scattered the stars. But was this the truth? Who am I to make assumptions about love when I’ve never been kissed?
**iTunes shuffle noise**
“Extraordinary lives / Keep crashing and tumbling by / Somewhere there’s a sky for only me.”
You’ve forgotten, you silly, pretentious writer, that there are other kinds of love; yes, kinds that reach out to you from the nearest corners! The love of a mother, the love of a pet, the love of a friend is more defined, sharper than the love of a once-crush. They are the source of the bonding, intimate love that secures you, pulls you through reality, builds up the scaffolding that keeps you from crumbling; and, that love, yes, it can change, but it will never truly leave –– even psychopaths have someone that loves them, or once did. This love will stay with you, psychopath or not (no judgement), until you find this Somewhere: this spiritual or physical place of simple existence. And this love, this love of all things that is reflected from others, into you, around you, and finally out of you, is precious, a love “for only me.” And so, we must treasure it and treasure those who give it to us. “Linquantur Phrygii, Catulle, campi / Nicaeaeque ager uber aestuosae: / ad claras Asiae volemus urbes”: Let the Phrygian fields be left behind, Catullus, and the fruitful field of sultry Nicaeae: let us fly to the clear cities of Asia.
Catullus, the great master of love, both requited and unrequited, sometimes hits the ambiguity of daily life right on the nose: Your need to run away can only be equated with your need to run away in the company of someone you love.
Remember him in this month of love, this month of adoration and devotion, and if you, like him, are seriously considering running away to the clear cities of Asia, remember to pack some extra socks and, maybe, at the last minute, someone who has a great capacity for love.
And perhaps someone with an affinity for ancient poetry… You never know when they might come in handy…
song lyrics courtesy of: “Inevitable” and “Somewhere” by the Scissor Sisters, and poetry courtesy of Catellus 46, no copyright infringement intended.