August 15th, 2010


Lesbia 1

If Gaius ever asked me what I meant
the times I said I loved him, I'd have said
it's not the love that feels like being dead
when he's away; I really do resent

his always blaming me for what went wrong.
I couldn't marry some provincial boy
I used him as a pastime and a toy
and then I came to care. Each bloody song

he writes just makes me like him more.
He's witty and a shit; my brother said
that if I liked, he'd quickly see him dead.
I didn't even when he called me whore.

He's not that good a lay - I love his hate.
I'll be remembered, just because he's great.

A very different sort of poem

Sullivan talking about Hitchens' illness quotes Boswell extensively, and it seemd to me that there is a poem in it...


Boswell went to Hume's deathbed; let me see,
he smugly thought, if godless men can die
as well as Christians. Heaven is a lie,
Hume told him, confidently, peacefully.

'Some drunk, some foetus - what would be the worth
to them of life eternal? I care not,
for any state worse than the life I've got
that ends, is done with calmly'. And his mirth

at Boswell's consternation, not unkind,
is how we hope to face our own last ends,
how hope to face the well-intentioned friends
who pray for us. And yet we are not blind.

It's love that prays, and so we show respect
but to our friend alone, not to their sect.