Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Umpired Umbathy, Pathic and Pathological, Part IV


On first looking into Chapman's Homer

Much have I travell'd in the realms of gold,
    And many goodly states and kingdoms seen;
    Round many western islands have I been
Which bards in fealty to Apollo hold.
Oft of one wide expanse had I been told
    That deep-brow'd Homer ruled as his demesne;
    Yet did I never breathe its pure serene
Till I heard Chapman speak out loud and bold:
Then felt I like some watcher of the skies
    When a new planet swims into his ken;
Or like stout Cortez when with eagle eyes
    He star'd at the Pacific--and all his men
Look'd at each other with a wild surmise--
    Silent, upon a peak in Darien.

--John Keats


 Much have I thought to use my own reason, audaciously,
And many goodly totalizations and mystic myths seen
Down many empty caverns spelunked
Which nerds in fealty to Apollo, Dionysus, and the Crucified hold.
Oft of one wide expanse had I been told
That deep-brow'd Kant tutored as his critique
Yet did I never breathe its pure serene
It spoke as if boldness and loudness were allowed
Offering the infinitizations of the Enlightenment
A space and time a priori and impenetrable Caesura nonetheless
Or like stout Cortez when with eagle-greedy-phallic-unsheepish eyes
He star'd at Aztec riches--and all his men
Look'd at each other with a lusting surmise--
Not very silent at all, while sharpening their knives, and started killing.

--Y.A.

I will take the exhilaration, the boldness, the joy of discovery, of exploration,
the new vistas, the expansiveness, the triumph, the sheer richness of experience,
the liveliness, the vitality, the inspiration.... But how to leave the rest behind?
 How do you take the good parts without promulgating 
or prolonging radiant triumphant calamity ?

.... 

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