It is the middle of the holiday cocktail party season. There are, let’s see, daytime work holiday parties, and nighttime work holiday parties, afternoon drinking parties with friends, and evening drinking parties with friends, holiday booze-teas with families, and holiday booze-luncheons with families, and holiday booze evenings with families, and then a host of parties thrown by those that might be friends, but not good friends, but parties you feel you should go to anyway, in the spirit of the season. With all this holiday partying, it’s possible (if not probable) that one or two of the parties may be more chore than cheer. With that, I’d like to present the following poem by Catullus, ancient partier. The poem is about these later parties a bit, and may well be worth reciting loudly when you’re at any holiday party. The translation (because, well, I can’t read ancient Latin) is by modern partier and poet Ed Skoog (did you get Mister Skylight yet? Cause if not, I’m sending a zombie Catullus to haunt you) and is, well, delicious.
Are you tending the bar, kid? Pour me the strong stuff,
the Falernian wine, and one for yourself. We’re going to need it,
the way this party is going. Our host, Postumia, is drunker than
these grapes. No water, please. It kills what wine is.
Save water for the fool who prefers his own sorrow.
This wine is more than wine. It’s the blood of the god
whose mother was destroyed by his father’s splendor,
the god of madness and ecstasy, who shares it with us.
— Poem 27, Catullus, translated by Ed Skoog
PS: Enjoy this drunken poetry and lit’rature stuff? Then you must, I say must, visit the blog Drunk Literature. It’s a literary boozehound’s dream blog.