Wednesday, 28 February 2018


“You cannot escape the responsibility of tomorrow by evading it today.” - Abraham Lincoln 

This week, Poets United has as its theme “Carpe Diem”, a phrase taken from one of Horace’s odes, which incites us to seize the moment, take every opportunity presented to us and enjoy ourselves, for time flies… 

Carpe Diem 

“Carpe diem,” you said and boasted your classical education
By completing the quote: “…quam minimum credula postero.”, 
And not missing the opportunity to drive home my lack of Latin,
You translated it for me…
“Seize the day, put very little trust in tomorrow.” 

And I smiled, because I loved you and whatever you said
Was music to my ears, flammable fodder for the fire in my heart.
And I failed to heed the dire warning of the quote’s meaning
And the smirk on your face as you carefully drew out the Latin long vowels
And clipped the short ones… 

You were always one for seizing days (and nights moreover),
Taking each opportunity, like plucking a ripe juicy plum;
Mindless of the consequences, unthinking of tomorrow,
Using all and everyone as accessories of your momentary enjoyment
Mindless of the long-term pain you inflicted.

And I forgave you, as I gave you my all, because I loved you,
And my pleasure was to always ensure yours,
Giving you all the plums your heart desired,
Plucking all happiness and making your days worthy of being seized,
(And all the nights, moreover…)

Then came tomorrow and you left, deserted me,
Your only goodbye the hackneyed words by Horace:
“Carpe diem…” and you didn’t complete the quote this time,
As its ending was self evident from your actions –
Nor did you bother to grace me with long and short vowels… 

And I wept, because my understanding of ancient tragedy is deep,
Even though I lack a classical education.
And I cursed Horace and Epicurus and their ilk who fill people’s minds
With hedonistic platitudes (or so do shallow people interpret them);
And I bawled with long vowel “a’s” and screamed with short “e’s”,
Piling maledictions on you, and I trust that your tomorrow
Will make you pay dearly for every day you seized from me
(And every night, moreover).


  1. Specially love the closing lines revealing thirst for comeuppance :)

  2. Oh, the education of heartbreak is harsh, and we emerge with our Masters', which offers scant comfort. I especially like the lines "And I wept, because my understanding of ancient tragedy is deep, Even though I lack a classical education." Me, too, Nicholas. Excellent writing.

  3. I enjoyed reading this amazing piece. The speaker's pain is evident...

    And I wept, because my understanding of ancient tragedy is deep,
    Even though I lack a classical education.

    yet there's something beautiful in allowing the other to seize the day.

  4. Wow Nicholas. This is such an excellent poem. I enjoyed this story so much. It has no nuance, only the true feelings of a blinded lover realizing the truth.

  5. An excellent composition. Enjoyed your style of writing

  6. How I loved this. How beautifully written, what good advice and what pathos as the love affair ends teaching us all the meaning of the saying.

  7. Wow, you DO understand tragedy! I love the details of the vowels and the allusion to William Carlos Williams (hedonists and plums) and the full round of speaking and action. Whew! And therein lies a tale!

  8. Incredible poem, Nicholas! I love the use of the long and short vowels. So much pain in this.

  9. What a creep the Latin-speaking guy (gal?) is! Hope your curses in the last stanza came true :)
    There is a black humour in this that doesn't detract from the tragic situation of love given to someone unworthy of it...

  10. Wowzers. Loved this wounded love poem ...