Monday, July 30, 2007

Compliments of Callimachus

On small poems vs epics (bricks), critics and god-inspired muses. Amen!

...but nightingales are honey-pale
and small poems are sweet.
So evaporate, Green-Eyed Monsters,
or learn to judge poems by the critic's art
instead of by the parasang,
and don't snoop around here for a poem that rumbles:
not I but Zeus owns the thunder.

When I first put a tablet on my knees, the Wolf-God
Apollo appeared and said:
Fatten your animal for sacrifice, poet,
but keep your muse slender."
And "follow trails unrutted by wagons,
don't drive your chariot down public highways,
but keep to the back roads though the going is narrow.
We are the poets for those who love
the cricket's high chirping, not the noise of the jackass."

Long-eared bray for others, for me delicate wings,
dewsip in old age and bright air for food,
mortality dropping from me like Sicily shifting
its triangular mass from Enkelados's chest.
No nemesis here:
the Muses do not desert the gray heads
of those on whose childhood
their glance once brightened.


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