Latin Lesson (Memoir)

I have a poetry submission for you all today. Clarissa Simmons, owner of the blog poeturja, wrote a great poem about the enjoyment of learning latin as a child and being able to picture herself on the ancient Roman battlefields, which ultimately conflict with the way her life has turned out. If you wish to read this from the original source, you can read the poem here. Let’s dive in!

Latin Lesson (Memoir)

By Clarissa Simmons

“Gallia est omnis divisa in partes quattuor”
Only Latin offered at the junior high school
I’d wanted to learn French or even Russian
But there we were, with a dead language
Can’t remember what the book looked like
Hardback, small, all in Latin
But the first lesson was
“All of Gaul is divided into four parts”
And the words seized me
Black letters on white background seduced me
I needed to know
What was its meaning
As I marched with the Centurions
Proudly carrying a flag
Emblazoned with huge letters
“Senate and People of Rome”
Words opening a new world
Togas and bloody gladiators
Pounding their chests
“We Who Are About to Die Salute You”
Pre-AC/DC days who sang
To my delight
“For those about to rock we salute you”
And now, so many decades later
When I can’t remember
Where I put something
Or what I was saying
Five minutes ago
I still see Mrs. Layton
Who brought life to the dead words
I still feel that book in my hands
I still remember sitting in my bedroom
Memorizing Latin vocabulary
I still remember the magical days
Of learning and
Being part of the Legion
That would conquer the world
A mere year or two
Before I’d be carrying signs
With a new–English language–flag
Reminding us all that
War is not healthy for children or
Other living things…

Clarissa Simmens is a poet, “campfire strummer” (ukulele/guitar), and a wannabe song writer. Originally from Philadelphia, she graduated with an A.A. from a community college and then from Temple University with a B.A. in English.  For the next stage of her life she worked in Financial Aid at a Florida community college. Now retired, she scribbles memoir poems, blogetry and songs. She has self-published ten books of poetry and has an author page on Amazon.



If you wish to submit your own work, and join the ever-growing list of writers who’ve submitted to Come and Go Literary, please see my submission guidelines on my website for more details.

2 Comments Add yours

    1. She’s right! I’m accepting all genres and themes, but I’m partial to social justice and political activism. You can find my guidelines on my website for more specific details!

      Liked by 1 person

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