CASSIODORUS IN HIS GARDEN.

In honor of the fourth anniversary of his Celebrated Magazine on the World-Wide Web, Dr. Boli is reprinting some of the most notable articles, stories, poems, and advertisements of the past four years.

THESE BRIGHT AND precious remnants soon must wither.
They bloom beyond their time—and so do I.
Dry winter comes; there will be no more flowers,
and I—I cannot live to see the spring.
Yet still I water them. My feeble strength
Can barely lift the jar filled just halfway;
The thirsty earth drinks down, absorbs, and mocks
The paltry moisture that I dribble out,
And winter laughs at me and marches closer,
Casting his shadow darker every day.
But I must labor, putting off the hour
When the last blossom drops, and no more bloom;
Though no one else will do it, I must tend
This useless acre, full of useless things
We cannot eat or burn, or build or kill with,
Only because there once was beauty here;
And though I shall not live beyond the winter,
Yet still I know by faith there will be spring.

Published in: on June 26, 2011 at 1:16 pm  Comments (4)  

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4 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. I am deeply moved by the poignant beauty of this. Did you write it, or is it a translation? I couldn’t find any reference to poetry of Cassiodorus. Is there a Latin original?

    • There is no original. Meandering through the literature of late antiquity, Dr. Boli found himself imagining what it must have been like to be Cassiodorus, an ancient man watching the darkness fall, desperately trying to preserve what was left of classical civilization for some future age that might profit from it. The subject seemed to require a poetic treatment; but, lacking the time and ambition to scribble an epic that would somehow encompass the end of the classical era, the Dark Ages, the Middle Ages, and the Renaissance, Dr. Boli decided to resort to metaphor, which he admits is a cheap trick.

  2. Lacking the time and ambition to scribble an epic, Dr Boli has produced an astonishing poem – I suppose at 227 years of age he has had a fair bit of practice.

    Thank you for it – it’s quite wonderful.

  3. I confess I found “…or kill with…” particularly piercing.


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