Poetry Friday: Catullus

CatullusI was in the mood for Latin poetry today. The problem is that much of it is very long and rather… odd. This one is odd, but short. So I thought it would be good to share. I’m assuming that most of the people who are reading this probably don’t read Latin very well, so this is an English translation. We had to translate this one in high school and I remember enjoying it because it was reasonably easy and not about war (mostly we translated accounts of battles because there are lots and lots of them in Latin). So here is one of Catullus’s love poems.

Let us live, my Lesbia, and let us love,
and let us judge all the rumors of the old men
to be worth just one penny!
The suns are able to fall and rise:
When that brief light has fallen for us,
we must sleep a never ending night.
Give me a thousand kisses, then another hundred,
then another thousand, then a second hundred,
then yet another thousand more, then another hundred.
Then, when we have made many thousands,
we will mix them all up so that we don’t know,
and so that no one can be jealous of us when he finds out
how many kisses we have shared.

Catullus wrote many poems to “Lesbia”, but it’s assumed to be a cover name for someone else. There are many speculations about who Lesbia might have been. I always thought it kind of sweet he wrote her poetry under a different name. Maybe it was dangerous for him to use her real name? He also didn’t shy away from writing very sexually explicit things to her, but this one is very sweet with it’s many thousands of kisses. Catullus was quite a character, indeed!

The poetry round-up today is over at Check It Out, so go over there to see what everyone else has today!

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Book: Dragon’s Keep

Dragon’s KeepDragon’s Keep
Janet Lee Carey
2007 (Harcourt)

This book tells the story about the princess who would fulfill one of Merlin’s prophecies: to end war with the wave of her hand. She has finger like a dragon’s claw which her mother is so ashamed of and horrified by that she makes the girl wear golden gloves to hide her hands at all times, saying that only her husband may ever see a princess’ hands. Rosalind has always gone along with this, but as she begins to learn more about her mother and herself, she starts to wonder about it more and more. The island that she is destined to be queen of is plagued by a dragon who indiscriminately kills the people, but a ship arrives to bring them (supposed) salvation. This ship brings much more than Rosalind could have possibly expected. Her story is complicated, fascinating and surprisingly human.

This is a really amazing fantasy novel. It is an incredibly realistic telling of an incredibly fantastical situation. Rosalind is one of the most real and sympathetic fantasy heroines I’ve found in a very long time. I really came to love who she was and be fascinated by Rosalind herself, and not just her story or her role in the prophecy. She was very human and very much a teenager who grew up quickly (which makes perfect sense for the time, place and situation she was in). Carey did a great job. She also did a marvelous job of portraying the world of the island. I loved that she showed us the common people and castle servants as realistically as she did the royal family, it added a lot to the story. Even the dragons were very real, understandable, if extremely un-human, characters. I was incredibly impressed.

One of the major issues in this book is the mother-daughter relationship of the main character and her queen-mother. They have a far from healthy relationship, but it is one that is definitely real. You can see exactly why the mother does what she does and how things got to be the way they are. Carey brilliantly counterpoints it with the relationship we briefly see between Rosalind’s mother’s former maid, Ali, and her daughter, Kit, which is loving and close. This is definitely one of the strongest elements of the book.

I was incredibly impressed with this book and I enjoyed in immensely. I highly recommend it. It’s a great story and a great fantasy. Carey did a great job and I will definitely look for more of her books!

Poetry Friday: Knights and Dragons

Lego KnightI’ve been reading stories about dragons lately and it reminded me of a poem from Now We Are Six by A. A. Milne. It’s just such a cute poem about a little kid playing at being a knight and fighting dragons that I couldn’t resist sharing it! The Lego knight seemed the perfect image to pair with it somehow (but that may just be me wishing I still had Legos to play with).

Knight-in-Armor

Whenever I’m a shining Knight,
I buckle on my armor tight;
And then I look about for things,
Like Rushings-Out, and Rescuings,
And Savings from the Dragon’s Lair,
And fighting all the Dragons there.
And sometimes when our fights begin,
I think I’ll let the Dragons win…
And then I think perhaps I won’t,
Because they’re Dragons, and I don’t.

Have fun slaying dragons (or making friends with them!) today! The round-up is over at Chicken Spaghetti today, so go check it out!

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“I Want to Play Her”: The Pirate Queen

GraniaI was drawn to the cover of Morgan Llywelyn’s book Grania because the pirate woman looks powerful and independent, but is not sexualized in any of the typical ways. The art is done by Gregory Manchess and I love it. The woman is clearly a competent sailor (if she wasn’t, she wouldn’t be standing with her leg up on the edge of the ship like that), an image further reinforced by her very practical outfit. Nothing is feminine at all about what she’s wearing – it’s a perfectly typical sailor’s outfit that you might see on a man, it’s just on a woman this time. The pose also suggests that she’s in command (or capable of being so). She’s armed, but not heavily so. She’s prepared, but she’s also aware that she’s not likely to need heavy arms on a ship probably primarily peopled with allies. She’s practical. All of these qualities are attractive ones in a potential character – especially a short term one (this woman would make a great character for a one-shot or a three to four session game).

This piece of art has been added to the “I Want to Play Her” page under “Role Playing Games”.

Meme: Harry Potter Mania!

Ravenclaw CrestThis meme was posted over at Big A little a and Kelly invited anyone who was interested to participate. Since it’s a rather amusing meme, I thought I’d steal it and join in!

1. Butterbeer or pumpkin juice?

Well, I’m not a big fan of anything I can think of butterbeer tasting like, but I am a juice fiend, so I’d have to go with pumpkin juice (even though I’ve never tried it).

2. What house would you most likely (or want to) be in in Hogwarts?

I’d almost certainly be in Ravenclaw. I’m a total nerd, not particularly ambitious and not notably brave. Everything about me screams Ravenclaw. Which is cool. I like Ravenclaw.

3. If you were an animagus, what animal would you turn into?

Hmm… tough one. Probably something small. Maybe a songbird of some type, but I don’t know nearly enough about birds to have any idea what type. I’m talkative and like the sensation of weightlessness and flying (heights definitely don’t scare me either), so songbird seems a good choice.

4. What character to you empathize with or resemble best?

Of the main characters, definitely Herminone – again with the nerd thing. I have a soft spot for Luna too, thoughW. She has such interesting ideas, but no one ever listens to her. I totally understand that feeling sometimes.

5. What position do you play at Quidditch?

Well, assuming I’m allowed to play (I have very little athletic ability), I’d go with keeper. I’m not fast or agile, my throwing and catching suck, and I’m not terribly strong, so that pretty much rules out beater or chaser. My eyesight sucks, so I’d be a horrible seeker. I’ve got a very good sense of how to tend goal, though, so I think if I had to play I’d be keeper. I wouldn’t be very good, but I’d be better at it than I would doing anything else on the field.

6. Which teacher is your favorite?

I like Professor McGonnegall. She’s tough but fair and she’s got a flair for the dramatic at times. Besides, she’s interesting. I’d love to hear her story someday.

7. Any Harry Potter 7 predictions?

I’m running an HP book club at work and the kids usually have way better ideas than I could ever come up with, so my predictions change frequently. Currently I think that Harry’s likely a horcrux, which explains the prophecy and complicates things nicely from a storytelling perspective. It just makes so much sense. I totally didn’t come up with that, by the way. I also think Hermione isn’t going to die (she’s the token girl, so she’s safe). Beyond that, I currently have real theories I’m backing. There are lots of interesting ones I’ve thought about, though (the magical world ending and Mr. Weasley running Hogwarts as a school for wizards learning to join the muggle world was one of my favorites for sheer amusement factor and cleverness, but I don’t think it’s likely at all).

That’s it! If you want to join this meme, please do! I’d love to see what more people think!

Poetry Friday: Kissing Day!

Scottish DancersToday is Kissing Day, so I decided I had to share a poem about kissing! In digging through my books of poetry the one the most amused me was by Robert Burns, a Scottish poet. It sounded to me like a song and I have a serious weakness for celtic-style songs, so I decided to share it. I hope you like it too!

Kissing My Kate

O, merry hae I been teethin a heckle
An merry hae I been shapin a spoon!
O, merry hae I been cloutin a kettle,
An kissin my Katie when a’ was done!
O, a’ the lang day I ca’ at my hammer,
An a’ the lang day I whistle and sing!
O, a’ the lang night as happy’s a king!
Bitter in dool, I lickit my winnins
O marrying Bess, to gie her a slave:
Blest be the hour she cool’d in her linens
And blythe be the bird that sings on her grave
Come to my arms, my Katie, my Katie,
An come to my arms, and kiss me again!
Drunken or sober, here’s to thee, Katie,
An blest be the day I did it again!

I hope everybody has a great day, make sure to kiss somebody you love extra times today! The round-up is over at Farm School, so go check it out!

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