Of Love and Hate: A #NaPoWriMo2020 / #GloPoWriMo2020 mock-translated #Gendai – #Haibun

Full title: Apollo and Daphne Artist: Antonio del Pollaiuolo Date made: probably 1470-80 Source: http://www.nationalgalleryimages.co.uk/ Contact: picture.library@nationalgallery.co.uk Copyright © The National Gallery, London

Can love and Hate occupy the same relationship? Or is a Greek God’s pursuit of a nymph the same lust for power humanity has indulged for millenia?

As though Dapne had a choice. As though Apollo allowed her one.

qui tamen insequitur pennis adiutus Amoris,⁠
ocior est requiemque negat tergoque fugacis
inminet et crinem sparsum cervicibus adflat.

Vaunted wings of love

a nymph brought to her strength’s end

by a lusting God

viribus absumptis expalluit illa citaeque
victa labore fugae spectans Peneidas undas
“fer, pater,” inquit “opem! sī flūmina nūmen habētis,⁠
quā nimium placuī, mūtandō perde figūram!”

Soon to be pierced

a stolen glance to Peneidas

her final, uttered prayer

“Father, part this earth for me

or warp this form from me!”

[quae facit ut laedar mūtandō perde figūram.]
vix prece finitā torpor gravis occupat artūs,
mollia cinguntur tenui praecordia libro,
in frondem crinēs, in ramos bracchia crescunt,⁠
pes modo tam velox pigris radicibus haeret,
ora cacumen habet: remanet nitor unus in illa.

her uttered prayer

skin hardens to darkened bark

and arms to brances

her legs and torso to trunk

her face the Laurel tree top

The will, ever our instrument of our openess to barbarity or grace. Daphne, choosing grace, preserved her integrity, at the cost of being Laurel. Apollo, ever that civilized Olympian, chose barbarity, possessing the Laurel evermore.

Spring day

wind-swept boughs over

sunlit waters

Baucis and Philemon by Arthur Racham – image found on Pinterest

Is love truly possible, then?

As though Baucis and Philemon didn’t witness its truth. For what did they answer when the Gods offered them anything?

“‘auferat hora duos eadem, nec coniugis umquam
busta meae videam, neu sim tumulandus ab illa.’”

“Let not the hour

come between us at our death

nor see each other’s tombs”

In the fullness of their lives did they receive their gift.

frondere Philemona Baucis,
Baucida conspexit senior frondere Philemon.
iamque super geminos crescente cacumine vultus
mutua, dum licuit, reddebant dicta ‘vale’ que
‘o coniunx’ dixere simul, simul abdita texit
ora frutex: ostendit adhuc Thyneius illic
incola de gemino vicinos corpore truncos.

Baucis and Philemon

saw each other growing leaves

said their last farewell

and their entertwined bodies

grew to an Oak and Linden

If sharing every moment of their lives to the last isn’t love, what is?

Autumn day

wind-swept leaves swirl around

aged boughs

10 replies »

  1. Lovely haiku, as always. And I like the way you told these stories. (I never learned Latin, so can’t comment on the mock-translations, but it’s an entertaining idea.). I think the technology has caused some mistyping; I’m betting you meant ‘barbarity’ not ‘barbity’. That being said, I like your point of view on both tales.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. The questions at the beginning of your extended haibun are pertinent ones, Frank, although I would mention that power lust is mostly a masculine trait. Sadly, the pursuit of Daphne has been repeated too many times over the course of history, and never ended well. I like the way you alternated the Latin with a haiku or tanka in English, especially Daphne’s transformation into a tree and the final haiku. I also enjoyed the final tanka with the image of Baucis and Philemon watching each other grow leaves and their intertwined bodies grow to an oak and linden.


  3. “her uttered prayer
    skin hardens to darkened bark
    and arms to brances
    her legs and torso to trunk
    her face the Laurel tree top,”

    Sigh, such a beautiful, beautiful retelling of the mythical tale, Frank! 😀

    Liked by 1 person

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