News Poetry: @OurCaesarHeadofState

Ah Mentula
His head is small
His hands reflect the slight
It’s not his head of orange I mean


This is a tweet poem “after” the poem ‘Catallus 54,’ written in iambic verse. Catullus was a Roman lyric poet known for his hatred for Julius Caesar and other politicians and social figures of the time. In Latin “Mentula” is the basic Latin word for the penis and Catullus uses it in several of his poems as an insulting name for his enemies.

54. Oh Caesar! : of Otho’s head
Otho’s head is quite tiny,
and its owner’s legs loutishly unclean,
soft and delicate is Libo’s farting:
if not with all that, then let me displease you
with Sufficio, old age renewed…
again let my worthless iambics
rile you, our one and only general.
And here’s the original in Latin:

LIV. de Octonis capite
Othonis caput oppido est pusillum,
et eri rustice semilauta crura,
subtile et leve peditum Libonis,
si non omnia, displicere vellem
tibi et Sufficio seni recocto…
irascere iterum meis iambis
inmerentibus, unice imperator.

Photo credit: Tienbq, Creative Commons, Flickr

Guy Valery is the pen name of a Denver lawyer who has studied the classics.