The originals and translations appear on pages 14 and 15.
Gaudeamus was suggested in part by an anecdote on Horace recorded by Percy Buck in his notable work, Psychology for Musicians. He argues that interest is always active, and it can be either immediate or mediate; and that two maxims apply. First, “Any fool can do the thing that interests him;” and second, “It is your duty to be interesting.” Gaudeamus, “let us rejoice,” has since the 13th century been a popular drinking-song of students. The experience of the Esquiline Hill, however, is my own.
In Asseveration, the reader will have to decide whether the capitulation is the narrator’s or of those the narrator is speaking to; and whether the bodily slivers are his or theirs. And whether the “you” being loved is his or theirs, or both.
The translations into Spanish are by Spanish poet Eva Gallud, who is not only a fine translator but also one who brings great attention and discernment to her translations. Her translations of the complete poems of Rupert Brooke and of Siegfried Sassoon’s Counterattack have appeared recently in bilingual editions. The translations here represent the seventh and eighth collaborations for the trilingual literary periodical, Triadæ, she founded and edits with Toulouse’s Sylvia Ortega.
Both poems are from the manuscript, Mahler and Freud Meet in Leiden, about half of which is published in literary periodicals, and which continues the line of discussion initiated in the earlier Caravaggio’s Dagger, and which are continued in Constellations of Desire, which concludes the trilogy, Solitary Ethics.
The subject of Mahler and Freud Meet in Leiden is the contract life imposes on a human being as the fundamental condition of its existence. It is explored as the unstated, never negotiated covenant between existence and life; that is, the conditional situation that existence provides to those that live within it, and the necessity in particular of human life to acknowledge and respect the inexplicability and inexorability of the situation it has been given.
The two poems are from the third section of its third part, Covenant of the Golden Shadows. The first section, “Mahler and Freud Meet in Leiden” deals with origins. The second, “The Underside of Time” deals with the nature of certain constants of society. The third, “Torn by Victory” examines how artistry enables one to rise beyond such constraints.