Hail, Poetry

Hail, Poetry

When I was in high school, Latin was a compulsory subject. I don’t have a good grasp of Latin; I was an indefferent student. But I must tell you that Latin verbs are particularly interesting because their endings denote time of the action (whether it is now, in the future, or in various aspects of the past) as well as the number of people involved, and whether they are I/us, you/you-all, or he(she)/they. Thus, the root word “ama,” meaning “to love,” may take the form “amo” (I love), amas (you love), amat (he/she/loves), amamus (we love), amatis (you-all love), and amant (they love), and that is only the Present tense! Other tenses generate other endings. The Perfect tense (and Perfect in this context refers to completed action, what we would think of as simple Past tense) has the following root word and endings: amavi (I loved), amavisti (you loved), amavit (he/she loved), amavimus (we loved), amavistis (you-all loved), and amaverunt (they loved). Other tenses (Imperfect tense, Future tense, Pluperfect tense, and Future Perfect tense) generate still other endings. Be that as it may, with the vagueries of Latin in mind, enjoy A.D. Godley’s The Motor Bus.

The Motor Bus

What is this that roareth thus?

Can it be a Motor Bus?

Yes, the smell and hideous hum

Indicat Motorem Bum!

Implet in the Corn and High

Terror me Motoris Bi;

Bo Motori clamitabo

Ne Morote caedar a Bo –

Dative be or Ablative

So thou only let us live –

Whither shall thy victims flee?

Spare us, spare us, Motor Be!

Thus I sang; and still anigh

Came in hordes Motores Bi,

Et complebat omne forum

Copia Motorum Borum.

How shall wretches live like us

Cincti Bis Motoribus?

Domine, defende nos

Contra hos Motores Bos!

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