Nevertheless (getting back to my point), if you were to give a sweeping title to western culture, it could be something like The Muse and the Poet. Abraham and Moses had Yahweh, Homer had Zeus and Achilles, and later poets played with the great ideas of Reason and Beauty to describe the complex relationship between their words and their inspiration. Without a doubt, the origin of western verse lies with the ancient god of the Levant and the scribe of the fall of Troy, and their memesque swimming through the rivulets of the occidental stream.
Both Yahweh and Homer would take center stage in any play depicting the protagonist of western verse, the hero of writ and wit. One could readily imagine a tragedy by Aeschylus or Sophocles that pitted Homer against YHVH, as if one were enlightened reason and the other were strict faith. But the Tetragrammaton wasn't entirely faithful, and Homer was but a minstrel, orally memorializing the past. And yet, because they both continue to intrigue our collective imagination so many thousands of years later, they must have symbolized some internal process that we all are looking for: the meeting of the lover and the beloved.
So, in recognition of the long and complex history of western verse, and the end of National Poetry Month, I'd like to offer another example of the simple but intriguing process of inspiration (this time with a bit of political garnish). Without further adieu.
fish and wine
came slowly; day in and day out the nine and eleven
made war. the eleven and nine roared with lungs, loud;
the thickness of their tone,
the fire and the smoke, they allowed.
the breaths we take, we thank nine and eleven;
three and three multiplied;
one and ten, acting
terrified: it is a mental sickness,
she drank wine.
and smoked a fish for her trek.
she could almost taste the fish as it smoked;
the wine went well with the fish smoking.
the fish lived once.
and once caught the taste of wine from wine coated cheese.
it was on a hook, the wine coated cheese.
there was hope,
she would take,
on her trek,
would take her by the river,
on a certain day,
when nine and eleven worked;
we can almost remember her,
but for all those
who she is a symbol for.
but oh the fish and wine!
and wo! the hook.
rr zollinger c2007