Kiss me, I'm Catholic.

Monday, June 12, 2006

Coming Up for Air

Alright. In two weeks at Berkeley I've learned how to decline nouns, conjugate verbs (in active, passive, AND the elusive middle), put together all manner of Conditional Sentences, Purpose Clauses, and Optatives of Wish ("If only I had less Greek homework!"), and what to do with an Enclitic, or more properly, the word preceding it. Having made it through all of this, I figured I was pretty much set. Nouns, verbs, adjectives, articles, relative/demonstrative pronouns, check. How bad could participles be?

As it turns out, the Greek Participle is like the Big Bad Final Boss of an unusually sadistic videogame - a sneering space robot, decked out with missiles and whirling knives and other assorted nastiness, which taunts you in an alien language before blowing you up.

(Maybe that was slightly hyperbolic. But I've been partial, lately, to personifying grammatical terms - after seeing this.)

I think I'm forgetting how to print the Roman alphabet. Except when writing the language of old Rome. For in spite of the exigencies of intensive Greek, I've managed to write a dram of Latin poetry in the margin of my textbook:

Hodie apparuit
Regina mane Flora;
nunc vidimus maritum,
thalassina hora.


Today at early morn appeared
the Queen of things that flower;
now we see her bridegroom come
at the sea-green hour.

This makes almost no sense. But it's the first bit of Latin verse I've ever written, so I'm proud of it. Still, can someone more experienced in Latin tell me whether "thalassina" is over the top? It looked like such a lovely word when I stumbled across it in a dictionary, and I'd like to keep it for further use.

Poetry. I'm doing this so I can read poetry: Sophocles, Sappho, and Homer. I've decided that this blog needs at least two things (ask me and I'll tell you the rest): more posts, and more posts on poetry. At this moment I will further the cause of poetry by directing you to Sheila's Triolet Contest and John's sonnet sequence, which he wrote in honor of a friend's entrance into a Carmelite convent. When I can, I will review it and try to do it justice, but in the meantime let me say that I am very excited about such lines as "That very tree from which I oft secede," "A Godly embassy with golden frame," and "I do not say the sun must rise again,/Because I stand beneath its setting face."

And now... back to the Participle.

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