Friday, September 11, 2009

Edward Lear's Early Friendships

Edward Lear's Early Friendships

They were certain the seas were freshly named,
approved names like Nubile, Pea-green, Eastern, the seas were given.
Jean-Dominique Ingres accompanied the famed
English poet Edward Lear, properly shriven

per the poet's parents' urgent requests, even while
they themselves delved where the weeds grew.
Little Eddie availed himself when the pile
produced after Keats's tomes' pages flew,

went directly above the toddler's head,
landed where the continental shelves directed,
Israeli desert, suicide bombers' century ahead,
trade centers unimploded, unerected.

He read the poems, shared the nightingale ode avec Ingres,
chez the late evening Baudelaire soiree
rumored suave stovepipe presidential egress
where honest Abe likely waved the Northern epee

even after Lear informed the police, dueling
being illegal even then (nineteenth century
sometime, the era's notable tomfoolery
we note provoked even more extreme ventures,

like the siege engines mounted inside Berlin's
suave restaurants when Chinese noodles
were offered the gentry chez Holderlin,
another poet we recalled before, albeit poetic yodels

changed little, the poet being dead, gone,
the entire era fabricated anew later, steel replicas
constructed emulating obsolete yet new bone).
The future composer nonsensically supplicates

(maybe he understands the tunes
modernism provided the twentieth, twenty-first
serving notice realisms were fallen, mere runes
archaeologists needed recognize were erst

Lincolnesque specters) while Baudelaire,
great French pedestrian, dared evaporate
modernity itself beyond repair,
then infantile, soft-voiced, shouted, "Ingres, ingrate!"

merely because Lear's friend Bernoulli,
mathematician, authored the theorem
Ingres, mute painter, understood more entirely
however blithely the boulevardier,
attempting the mathematics,
dared test the lemma, helpless,
dared take the deadly absinthe serum.


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