At least this time he's had the sense to email me, so I can paste it straight into the blog.
I've edited out the first bit where he berates me for accuately transcribing his spelling mistakes on that napkin (some folks are never satisfied). Suffice to say that he's recalled some more of his day in ancient Rome (from now on, AR).
He was walking through the market in AR, when a messenger ran up to him - suspiciously not out of breath, no dust on his sandles - and thrust this into his hand proclaiming, "Ab amico tuo: ecce haec epistulae" or some such doggerel.
Sounds to me as if the waiter has slipped some grappa into his tamarindo!
Bright Sun In The Square
I wish I could remember more - the whole letter:
some fragments come, no photographic memory.
I recall hanging on each Latin word and phrase
with goatskin vino, hunk of bread and cheese
seated at ease in oleander shade,
it seemed penned by th'exiled Roman bard,
no need translate - my brain was latin-wired.
Can still see my Chaucer notes 'bout Ars Amoris,
which crops up in the Canterbuty tales:
"A lovers handbook by the poet Ovidius,
literary giant of the ancient world."
And I, reading this key letter just yesterday
can now mostly see shadows on a page
of freshly folded parchment, bright sun in the square -
I shoulda done that Dale Carnegie course...
Two things are even odder: as I write these notes
now in Amato with a rum and coke
that messenger just rode by on a Ducati;
second is doubt - the doubt within my mind -
not that I was there reading that mint papyrus
my doubt was whether Ovid was the author
......sorry protocol at the Amato says my time is up with this computer - to be continued.