Tuesday, November 26, 2013
Allen Tate: Calidus Juventa?
I finished Allen Tate's Collected Poems: 1919-1976 the other day. I cannot say it was always a pleasurable experience (he really makes a reader work hard, in a way like unto Eliot), but there were plenty of perfect lines to keep a reader occupied. Here's one of his earlier poems, from 1922, that is a good example of what I mean.
Non ego hoc ferrem, calidus juventa, Consule Planco.
We are afraid that we have not lived.
We are not afraid of dying.
Toss images to the indifferent morning
Amid laughter and crying--
Amid fitful buffetings of strangled hearts
While they are dying.
Draw tight the words of death shivering
On the strictured page--
The cup of Morgan Fay is shattered.
Life is a bitter sage,
And we are weary infants
In a palsied age.