Academic journal article Parnassus : Poetry in Review

Hermes Boukolos

Academic journal article Parnassus : Poetry in Review

Hermes Boukolos

Article excerpt

In the hope that our project of reinterpreting the Hymn to Hermes might find favor with one of our nine lyric ombudsmen we here start on a tentative basis the transferral of cattle which is the sign of really border-crossing poetryan experiment which we have had to postpone for a long time as our metaphorical audacity has not by a long shot permitted a cattle theft of this magnitude. Now, however, the cattle herds of the Sun God -a fill-grown capital whose lowing is widely heardhave suddenly proliferated at a rate expected by no one which is why we too take up the shepherds crook and openly explain how we secretly have looked upon bucolic poetry, for centuries capable of calving many-splendored interpretations: all poetry is bucolic and the interpreter a cattle-thief who before restoring the cows he has stolen makes them calve in secret and keeps the calves for himself. True, Apollo sends the herds of poetry to graze but the one-sidedly acoustic interest he takes in big cattle which carefully fenced feed on the hills confuses him when asked about the renewal of metaphor, fundamental to the poetic subversion of our time; on this point his half-brother is perfectly up to date ever since he stealthily signed the Surrealist Manifesto one night at the beginning of the twenties: what is Breton's "spark" if not the soundless sign that Hermes with his wand has established a connection between the two seemingly irreconcilable elements of the image? Never is the poem's shower of sparks so wonderful as at night! Not surprisingly, Hermes chooses the darkest hours of all to resolutely seize the alphabet by the horns and push it backwards out of the fold of the old poems: twenty-four cows with as many types of hooves set off quickly in the pitch dark of interpretation where just as in the original text it is of paramount importance that the Thief have more than one string to his lyre; a few hours earlier, he invented the instrument which determines the standard range of our own lyrical poetry and rarely limits it to its highest register, suitable for example to depicting the atmosphere among the gods where they live, in Winckelmann fashion, at an altitude of 3,000 metres. Fortunately, the Cloud-Gatherer discovered a little chap who will for ever break the monotony on Mt. Olympus: way down there on earth he is seen leading his cattle into a darkness which slowly begins to blink with fireflies, punctuation marks in a childhood poem full of strange meetings and so quiet that laughter can be heard at a distance of several miles: is it Zeus chuckling at the prank of his new-born son? …

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