“What sort of inspiration can we get from an outside source?
Descriptive, analytical, critical, small details, comic, serious?
A bit of all?”


To My Body

Addressing a handless statue at the U of M Museum of Art

Quid, quaeris, fugi tua aperte bracchia pulchra
Simpliciter vidi bracchia pulchra alia.

Why, you ask, did I flee openly from your beautiful arms?
Well, simply because I found more beautiful arms elsewhere!

by Anthony

Servus Fidus

O dominē, exspectas sine cruribus esse viator.
Tū cum vī prodīs. Vah! Ego fessus equus.

by Christine

To Martha Washington

O mater patriae, facies tam stoica dura,
cives ex oculo lapidoso nos ita servat.

O mother of our country, your face, so sternly stoic
from its stony porthole thus protects us citizens.

by Gina

On a 19th century painting of Tintern Abbey

Isti homines qui sunt? Quae garrula lingua quietem
Tam sanctam turbat? Nobis intrantibus olim
Numinis has aedes et procedentibus ultra
In navem lente lente, subito sonuit vox
Lusciniae parvae. Cecinit sub imagine Christi
Fundens ex anima pacem mortalibus nobis.

Who are those people? What blaring tongue
Disturbs this silence, so holy? Once when we
Entered into this divine dwelling and were proceeding
Slowly down the middle aisle, moving so slowly,
The song of a small nightingale suddenly echoed.
She was singing beneath a statue of the Christ,
Pouring out with all her being peace to us mortals.

by Peter G

De pulveri nitrato arcula

Ecce resplendet lepidum usque cornu
Saeviter rapto nitido iuvenco
Pulveri atrocis ducis ut nitrato
    Arcula fiat.
Martis extusum modo tunc triumphis
Rite peractis, micat eleganter.
Sic erat quondam; modo triste pendet
    Tempore capto.

On the Powderhorn
Behold an elegant horn continually gleams, a lovely bull having been savagely despoiled so that it may become a ferocious general’s gunpowder horn. Created at one time for the triumphs of war duly performed, it shines elegantly. Thus it was once upon a time, now it hangs sadly as time stands still.

by Paul

De Pictura Pueri Librum Iohannis Milton Tenentis

Indoctus pictor monstrat puerum. Is tenet ecce
Librum destra, atra veste, venustus opum.
Index significat Milton. Doctissime vates,
Heu te peniculus pinxit ineptus opus.

A rustic painter here portrays
A young man of good taste and wealth,
Dressed in well-cut black and holding
In his right a book, its title Milton’s Works.
Oh dear, this untrained brush has painted
You, most learned of all poets.

by RJ

On Sir Joshua Reynolds’ portrait (1763) of Mrs. Barnard (dactylic hexameter)

cur oblita diu labuntur, femina, scripta?
suntne molesta quidem vel atrocia vel mala clare?

Why does your book slip, forgotten, woman?
Are the writings bothersome indeed, or obscene or just plain awful?

by Tina

Venus’ golden mantle clock

Laetitiae genetrix Venus aurea, parva columba,
te caesam subito poscit et hora fugax

Little dove, golden Venus, the mother of happiness,
and the fleeting hour demand your immediate death.

by Karla