‘Could a rule be given from without, poetry would cease to be poetry, and sink into a mechanical art. It would be μóρφωσις, not ποίησις. The rules of the IMAGINATION are themselves the very powers of growth and production. The words to which they are reducible, present only the outlines and external appearance of the fruit. A deceptive counterfeit of the superficial form and colours may be elaborated; but the marble peach feels cold and heavy, and children only put it to their mouths.’ [Coleridge, Biographia ch. 18]

‘ποίησις’ (poiēsis) means ‘a making, a creation, a production’ and is used of poetry in Aristotle and Plato. ‘μóρφωσις’ (morphōsis) in essence means the same thing: ‘a shaping, a bringing into shape.’ But Coleridge has in mind the New Testament use of the word as ‘semblance’ or ‘outward appearance’, which the KJV translates as ‘form’: ‘An instructor of the foolish, a teacher of babes, which hast the form [μóρφωσις] of knowledge and of the truth in the law’ [Romans 2:20]; ‘Having a form [μóρφωσις] of godliness, but denying the power thereof: from such turn away’ [2 Timothy 3:5]. I trust that's clear.

There is much more on Coleridge at my other, Coleridgean blog.

Thursday, 22 September 2016

Wodwo Vergil: Eclogue 3



Menalcas
So, these sheep, eh Damoetas?
Meliboeus's, are they?

Damoetas
Mate, not his. Aegon's, isn't it.
And this is me, minding them.
Aegon trusts me, see. 

Menalcas
Oho, that's this lot fucked, then.
Off on a date, is he?
And while your boss's hands are on Neara's tits
like a kid with playdoh
you'll be all over these suede udders
groping out six times the usual flow of milk,
stealing sustenance from the lambkins' little mouths
glutting yourself, selling the surplus. Leaving
ewes as giddy-weak
as marathon-runners crossing the line,
legs all rope.
Naughty naughty.

Damoetas
Fuck off, my friend.
You think I don't know 
who you've been doing? And with what fervour?
Do me a favour.

Menalcas
Careful now. You seen me use a knife?.

Damoetas
Oh, so scared.
Veritably quaking.
Check out these trees, yeah? A longer look?
I like to think of these old-boy beeches as
witnesses. They stand, they surveil.
Perfect recall, isn't it?
They saw when you knacked that bow across your knee
stunned it to splinters, threw the pieces in the sedge.
The bow-and-arrow given to young Damon, 
and you browned-off for not getting it.
Moody Menalcas, you sulky fucker.

Menalcas
Oho. You didn't steal Damon's goat, then?
My fucking mistake. My miscuntderstanding.
That wasn't you, whilst the boy's dog, Lycisca,
kept hammering away at the plank of his barking
over and over,
as if barking was the only idea in his head.
Nah, saw you, mate. Called to Tityrus, didn't I,
and you ducked behind the fucking hedgerow.

Damoetas
He owed me that goat.
Won it fair and square,
squire.

Menalcas
Right: You sang a whole fucking cantata
and he wheezed old king cole,
so you won, right?
Thing is, you can no more carry a tune than 
clouds can hold onto the weight
of their own hard rain.
Your singing is piss through a colander.
Sound like a worn-down brake-pad.
I've shat turds with a better top end
no word of a fucking lie.

Damoetas
Care to put your money where your
hairy sack-shaped mouth is?
I'll bet you this heifer; a twice-a-day milker.

Menalcas 
Seriously, though, look:
if I bet one of these sheep, my Dad 
would fucking kill me, and my stepmother
would rip off my balls with nails
lacquered black like ten raven beaks.
So fuck that for a game of shepherds.
No, mate
no
I bet you: one girl, two cups. Cups, that's it.
Alcimedon spiked them onto his centrifuge
spun and scraped the wood away
like candyfloss in reverse,
until they were shapely as hourglasses, then
he worked vines into the sides with his burin
ivy berries like a cluster of
sweet little hemorrhoids
and standing under them two men
Conon, one, and
I forget the name of the other geezer.
Holding a wand, though, so maybe Gandalf.

Damoetas
Nah, babe, I already got two Alcimedon cups, don't I,
and mine have handles, you loser.
Mine got Orpheus on them, in a tangle
of forest matrix as it locks about him, in love with him.
Hardly worth a cow, though, is it? Some cups?

Menalcas
Whatever. Bet's on, fucker.
Your cum's thin as piss and mine's fucking gold-top.
All we need's a judge, impartial like.
And, bingo, here comes Palaemon. He'll do.
For a singing comp he'll doo-be-doo-be-doo.

Damoetas
Bring it.

Palaemon
Gents, let's park our derrieres
on this dollar-green grass, right here.
Pastures and trees and all that, burgeoning
all around us
my friends, truly burgeoning.
The trees standing high as a ship's mast:
foliage came gliding by as green as
aim-air-auld
as the poet says. Hi-de-hi.
Damoetas, you go first, sir.
Then you, Menalcas.

Damoetas
"You'd think that people woulda
had enough of silly Jove-songs
I asked the Muse now and she said
it isn't so
oh no."

Menalcas
"Phoebus loves me
yeah, yeah yeah
Phoe loves me
yeah yeah yeah
and with hyacinths
she gives me what I need."

Damoetas
"Gay Galatea
Gay Galatea
Gay Galatea
Chucks me an apple,
Then runs to the willows
Ooh I gotta see her
I gotta see her
Galatea."

Menalcas
"I don't got to beg her
Amyntas comes down;
my dogs don't bark
my dogs don't bark
when she comes round."

Damoetas
"I got my eyes on a
gift for my love
I got my eyes on a
gift for my love
in the skies is my
gift for my love
where pigeons fly
is my gift for my love
gift for my love."

Menalcas
"Ten gold apples
I gave to that boy.
Ten gold apples
I gave to that boy.
And if he'll just kiss me
I'll give him ten ones more
and he'll have
Twenty gold apples
lying on his floor."

Damoetas
"Every little breeze seems to whisper
Galatea
whispea
Galatea
Birds in the trees seem to twitter
Galatea
twittea
Galatea."

Menalcas
"It breaks my heart to see you go
Iollas
You say farewell I'm filled with woe
Iollas
Oh Iollas"

Damoetas
"She don't have to be beautiful
To be his girl
She just use her country-breeding,
To rock his world.
She don't have to be rich
For Pollio
She don't got to own cows
To make him go
Oh Pie-ri-an maids
he is com-pat-i-ble with—"

Menalcas
Alright alright. Fucking hell, already.
Let me just clear my throat.

"Pollio
Pollio
baby
You know I'm in need of you?
Pollio
Pollio
baby
Don't you believe it's true?"

Damoetas
You're just embarrassing yourself.
Stand back, I'm going to blast this next one,
go full Adele in the dale:

"And with Pollio
When things crumble
We will stand tall-
all-he-all
face it altogether;
stay with Pollio
when things crumble
we will stand tall-all-all
Face it all
together
with Pollio."

Menalcas
You'll do yourself a mischief
hernia or therenia. Settle down, my boy.

"I get no kick from sham Bavius,
His rubbish verse doesn't thrill me at all
But baby, Maevius's true:
That I get a goat
Out of you."

Damoetas
"My Apollo
Oh mist rolling in from the sea
You must know
the whole breadth of heaven
sees you
Apollo."

Menalcas
"You make me dizzy
Miss Phyllis,
kings are on the line;
you make me dizzy
Miss Phyllis
they all think you're so fine;
come on Miss Phyllis
come and love me all the time."

Palaemon
Enough!
Fuck me.
Bacchus on a badger that was bad.
Each as atrocious as at-nother.
You've worked yourselves into
a right two-and-eight.
Boy, boys, shut off
your fucking sluices,
for the fields have drunk their fill.

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