ottos mops

December 28, 2012 § Leave a comment

ottos mops trotzt
otto: fort mops fort
ottos mops hopst fort
otto: soso

otto holt koks
otto holt obst
otto horcht
otto: mops mops
otto hofft

ottos mops klopft
otto: komm mops komm
ottos mops kommt
ottos mops kotzt
otto: ogottogott

– Ernst Jandl

This lipogram about Otto and his dog has no great English translation, so I’ve left it in German. Since the sound is the sense, one only has to listen to appreciate the story (it ends in pug puke):

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Love

December 26, 2012 § Leave a comment

Love bade me welcome. Yet my soul drew back
  Guilty of dust and sin.
But quick-eyed Love, observing me grow slack
  From my first entrance in,
Drew nearer to me, sweetly questioning,
  If I lacked any thing.

A guest, I answered, worthy to be here:
  Love said, You shall be he.
I the unkind, ungrateful? Ah my dear,
  I cannot look on thee.
Love took my hand, and smiling did reply,
  Who made the eyes but I?

Truth Lord, but I have marred them: let my shame
  Go where it doth deserve.
And know you not, says Love, who bore the blame?
  My dear, then I will serve.
You must sit down, says Love, and taste my meat:
  So I did sit and eat.

– George Herbert

In Catholicism, the Eucharist is the taking of the body and blood of Christ in the form of bread and wine. I suppose there are some old-school Catholics who believe that the bread and wine are literally the flesh and blood of Christ, and not symbolic gestures, in what amounts to holy cannibalism. It is unclear whether “Love” is love personified or Christ himself in Herbert’s poem (probably the latter), but when Love instructs the speaker to taste its meat, the invitation resonates as a spiritual and possibly physical feast.

the Computer’s First Christmas Card

December 24, 2012 § Leave a comment

"Computer's First Christmas Card", Edwin Morgan

– Edwin Morgan

In which Molly and Jerry marry merrily, Barry hops with happy Harry, poor Jarry contracts what seems to be hepatitis, and the computer after lines of garbled greetings wishes us all a Merry Chrysanthemum.

Separation

December 12, 2012 § Leave a comment

Your absence has gone through me
Like thread through a needle.
Everything I do is stitched with its color.

– W. S. Merwin

Love lost is not so much about feeling incomplete; rather, it is about learning to be complete in a new way, to weave one’s existence into new tapestries using old threads.

Napoleon

December 2, 2012 § Leave a comment

“What is the world, O soldiers?
    It is I;
I, this incessant snow,
  This northern sky;
Soldiers, this solitude
  Through which we go
    Is I.”

– Walter de la Mare

Though Napoleon won the Battle of Borodino outside of Moscow in what would be the bloodiest day of fighting in the Napoleonic Wars, he was forced to retreat due to the oncoming Russian winter and the lack of supplies in Moscow. By the time he returned to home soil, his army of 250,000 had dwindled to a quarter of its size, and the battle marked the beginning of Napoleon’s decline.

It remains ambiguous as to whether we hear Napoleon marching to Moscow or slinking away. The poem is either extremely ironic: a megalomaniac marching towards battle and not realizing his imminent downfall; or an apt personal reflection: Napoleon as the cause of the solitude, the thousands lost, the barren landscape through which the soldiers trudge.

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