1 March, 2005Issue 4.2Creative WritingOriginal Poetry

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After Horace: II.10

Anabella Pomi


The Golden Mean
Rectius vives, Licini, neque altum…

Licinius, my friend,
You will steer your life
On a straighter course
If you neither urge your ship towards the high seas
Nor, while cautiously avoiding the gusty winds,
Too closely hug the dangerous shore.
The one who follows
The Golden Mean
Keeps safe:
He is free from the shabby filth-house,
And being sensible,
He is free from the envy of a palace.

More often it is the mighty pine
That is shaken by the wind;
The collapse is graver
When tall towers fall,
And it is the peaks of mountains
That lightning strikes twice.

In unhappy times,
The well-prepared mind hopes
For the opposite
And in prosperity, fears it.

If life is bad now
It will not always be so:
At the worst of times,
Be spirited and brave
And wiser still to shorten your sail
When it swells
Before a breeze too favourable.