The language that we call ‘Latin’ is what we could classify as an inflected language.

It means that the words can change their endings.

Sometimes, one ending can have a number of different meanings:

–ae, for example, is the nominative plural and the genitive singular in the first declension.

–is is an alternative form of the nominative plural or the genitive singular in the third declension.


In other words, they are either many or part of a relationship.




The Poet describes a kind of insect, dytiscus larvae,

‘our most ferocious robber in the pond’.

The name of the genus dytiscus is etymologically derived

from Greek δυτικός, meaning ‘capable of diving’.


Somewhere in the poem, the Poet dips his toes

into the metaphorical pool we metaphorically swim in.

I think he tells us that the water is cold,

but he does not seem prepared to dive in completely.


The Poet is fully capable of diving.


The rest is fury.




The ancients used weights known as skandalopetra

to help them reach the bottom of the sea.

The word skandalos refers to a stumbling block, an obstacle:

the kind that Jesus and the Apostle Paul refers to over and over again.

Both men knew about stumbling blocks, and both men carried them

deep into the sin-dark sea, pulling them down to the mortal sea-bed

where the only lights were the marks of their worn-out feet.


On his journey down, Paul, who was Saul, saw the light of God

breaking the deep-sea mist and robbing the sight from his eyes.

He knew what it meant to dive down, blind.


The Poet believes that he himself is not blind.




The Poet describes the colouris combustis, a kind of creature,

‘an inexplicability’.

She envisions some kind of extra-physical entity,

wavering in and out of a life cycle

consisting of ‘four stages of quantum existence’.


The physicists squirm in their fever dreams.




Blindness is not the presence of darkness.

It is said that some who are blind do not see black, but a boundless whiteness.


Jesus healed a number of blind men.




White, as it is commonly known, is the presence of all colours;

the Poet says that the colouris combustis combusts upon death into colours.


Perhaps Jesus was a colouris combustis.




Presumably colouris is a pseudo-Latinisation of colour.


The u in British -our words is derived by way of irony from French.

Like the colouris combustis, words go through four stages of quantum existence too.

First they are born.

Then they are borrowed.

Then they are misused.

Then they are killed.


Latin is a dead language.


Yet, it is also ‘neither here nor there, everywhere and nowhere,

within and without existence’.


The Poets have certainly made it that way.