The poem I have chosen to share in honor of NaPoWriMo is by the ancient Roman poet Gaius Valerius Catullus (ca. 84 – ca. 54 BCE). The poem was originally untitled, but is commonly referred to as Catullus 85. I chose it because, while it is brief, it says and expresses a lot. It has stuck with me since I first read it in my High School Latin class roughly 30 years ago. The original text reads:
ōdī et amō. quārē id faciam, fortasse requīris.
nescio, sed fierī sentiō et excrucior.
I couldn’t find a translation that I was completely satisfied with, so what follows is my own translation of the poem:
And while I hate, I love.
You might ask why I do this.
I don’t know,
But I feel it
And I am tormented.
— John W. Leys