After Catullus – three versions by Peter Jenkins


The bridge above the station – After Catullus 5


Hunger on their lips
for living, for loving,

they disregard the looks
of strict old men

and kiss again and again
and again and then a kiss

again, an entwined silhouette
against the setting sun,

hungry to kiss the light
before the night to come


Sunset on an empty street – After Catullus 11


Eyes staring straight
ahead, intent on the street

to avoid her gaze, her pained
hurried glance, bound

to reproach the crush dealt
to love; a flower on tilled

ground is stroked by the plough,
the briefest play

as the edge, cutting,


Late August, storm about to break – After Catullus 70


Bitten by betrayal
he heads into the night,

a late summer heat
ready, heavy, waiting

to burst into storm

Pacing up the hill
he clutches the letter,

hollowed and inert until
he rips the words she’d written

in wind and rushing water


Peter Jenkins

About Peter Jenkins

Peter Jenkins is an English teacher, living in Edinburgh, who makes time for the serious play of poetry in between planning lessons, teaching teenagers, marking essays and directing plays. Previous work has been published in Popshot, Chimera and Visual Verse and he has performed at the Shore Poets in Edinburgh. He Tweets occasionally @pmajenko.