"The Oldie is an incredible magazine - perhaps the best magazine in the world right now" Graydon Carter, founder of Air Mail and former Editor of Vanity Fair

Subscribe to the Oldie and get a free cartoon book


In remembrance of the lost

Blog | By ASH Smyth | Nov 10, 2017

In the first century BC, the poet Catullus wrote a poem – called Poem 101 – for his brother, who had died in the Troad, in what is now Anatolia, Turkey.

To coincide with Remembrance Sunday, ASH Smyth has composed his own translation.
I have come, my brother,
over lands and oceans,
to this field of bones
to grant the rituals
of the final hour,
and mumble pointless words
above your ashes.
Misfortune took you from me –
wrong brother, wrongly taken –
and so
here I perform
the old traditions
of our grim forefathers.

I admit it, 
           I am crying.

to eternity, my brother.
The night is coming 

              – and so goodbye.