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Feb 2020
Athena takes me
sometimes by the hand

and we go levitating
through strange Dreamlands

where Apollo sleeps
in his dark forgetting

and Passion seems
like a wise bloodletting

and all I remember
,upon awaking,

is: to Love sometimes
is like forsaking

one’s Being—to drift
heroically beyond thought,

forsaking the here
for the There and the Not.



O, finally to Burn,
gravity beyond escaping!

To plummet is Bliss
when the blisters breaking

rain down red scabs
on the earth’s mudpuddle ...

Feathers and wax
and the watchers huddle ...

Flocculent sheep,
O, and innocent lambs!,

I will rock me to sleep
on the waves’ iambs.



To Sleep, that is Bliss
in Love’s recursive Dream,

for the Night has Wings
pallid as moonbeams—

they will flit me to Life;
like a huge-eyed Phoenix

fluttering off
to quarry the Sphinx.



Riddlemethis,
riddlemethat,

Rynosseross,
throw out the Welcome Mat.

Quixotic, I seek Love
amid the tarnished

rusted-out steel
when to live is varnish.

To Dream—that’s the thing!
Aye, that Genie I’ll rub,

soak by the candle,
aflame in the tub.



Riddlemethis,
riddlemethat,

Rynosseross,
throw out the Welcome Mat.

Somewhither, somewhither
aglitter and strange,

we must moult off all knowledge
or perish caged.

*

I am reconciled to Life
somewhere beyond thought—

I’ll Live in the There,
I’ll Dream of the Naught.

Methinks it no journey;
to tarry’s a waste,

so fatten the oxen;
make a nice baste.

I’m coming, Fool Tom,
we have Somewhere to Go,

though we injure noone,
ourselves wildaglow.

This odd poem invokes and merges with the anonymous medieval poem “Tom O’Bedlam” and W. H. Auden’s modernist poem “Musee des Beaux Arts,” which in turn refers to Pieter Breughel’s painting “The Fall of Icarus.” In the first stanza Icarus levitates with the help of Athena, the goddess of wisdom, through “strange dreamlands” while Apollo, the sun god, lies sleeping at night. In the second stanza, Apollo predictably wakes up and Icarus plummets to earth, or back to mundane reality, as in Breughel’s painting and Auden’s poem. In the third stanza the grounded Icarus can still fly, but only in flights of imagination through dreams of love. In the fourth and fifth stanzas Icarus joins Tom Rynosseross of the Bedlam poem in embracing madness by deserting “knowledge” and its cages (ivory towers, learning, etc.). In the final stanza Icarus, the former high flier, agrees with Tom that it is “no journey” to wherever they’re going together and also agrees with Tom that they will injure no one on the way, no matter how intensely they glow and radiate.

Keywords/Tags: Icarus, Tom O’Bedlam, bedlam, bedlamite, beggar, mad song, Apollo, welkin, Rynosseros, limerick meter, ballad, hag, goblin, maudlin, chains, whips, dame, maid, afraid, dotage, conquest, cupid, owl, marrow, drake, crow, gypsies, Snap, Pedro, comradoes, punk, cutpurse, panther, fancies, commander, spear, horse, wilderness, knight, tourney, world’s end, journey, Phoenix, Sphinx, Genie, Don Quixote, Quixote, quixotic, cage, prison, glitter, strange, molt, knowledge, oxen, baste, Auden, Musee des Beaux Arts, Breughel, Fall of Icarus
Written by
Michael R Burch  62/M/Nashville, Tennessee
(62/M/Nashville, Tennessee)   
3.8k
     Naceur Ben Mesbah, Melanii and DivineDao
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