To Mount Aetna
Sicelides Musae, paulo majora canamus
Aetna — I've been up Vesuvius . . .
Vesuvius has shrunk, it seems:
There was more heat in me than streams
From that wounded crater in hot pus . . .
— They say you're like a woman. — What?
— Your age, I suppose — ? or maybe that cooked
Pebble, your heart? . . . Well, it's a thought . . .
Laugh? I thought I'd come apart?
— That dirty grin of yours, that cough
Thick as the phlegm of a senile lust;
Your old breast cancer draining off
Lava from under its scabby crust.
Comrade, let's go to bed together,
My hide against your sick hide; yes,
I swear by Venus you're my brother,
Vulcan! . . .
A little more . . . or less . . .
[translated by Dudley Fitts]