Sparrow, the Special Delight of My Girl

Sparrow, the special delight of my girl, 
whom often she teases and holds on her lap 
and pokes with the tip of her finger, provoking 
counterattacks with your mordant beak, 
whenever my luminous love desires 
something or other, innocuous fun, 
a bit of escape, I suppose, from her pain, 
a moment of peace from her turbulent passion, 
I wish I could play like she does with you 
and lighten the cares of my sorrowful soul. 
It thrills me as much as the nimble girl 
in the story was thrilled by the gilded apple 
that finally uncinched her virginal gown.

From The Complete Poetry of Catallus, translated by David Mulroy. Copyright © 2002 by David Mulroy. Reprinted by permission of the University of Wisconsin Press. All rights reserved.