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1.22 Ode, Written on 5.23 when horace speaks of ardent songs in praise of lalage, I donšt know what to say. I donšt know what to say because I do not know lalage. when he speaks of wolves, I am fine. or lions. I am fine, too, with them. I also understand quicksand and apulia. to wolves I say: "get away!" of lions, "run for your lives!" quicksand doesn't really exist; apulia is in italy. although I have never been shot, I never sit near the window. I could be shot that way! can we trust our feelings? no, we can't. that is comforting, all by itself. and reason enough, to believe, quite possibly, that quicksand doesn't exist. why should it? and when horace says: "the upright man whose conscience is perfectly clear can journey anywhere, unarmed," I feel closer to horace, all of him: his quicksands and his lions, his burning sands of sidra. why not sit near the window? why not take comfort? why not believehorace is speaking to me? perhaps I am lalage. or perhaps, for now, I am witnessing the poetry of its kiss. it is the kiss of a woman, yes, kissing a woman. but not necessarily another woman. ah, such beauty! and a panorama of imagery, steadfast, that beckons. there are such breezes. caucasus is frozen. horace is singing in the dark forest. I am untroubled and I am unarmed. also, I am running for my life.
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