Tuesday, January 08, 2008

The Animal Kingdom #7

Invitation to Juno

Lucretius could not credit centaurs;
Such bicycle he deemed asynchronous.
"Man superannuates the horse;
Horse pulses will not gear with ours."

Johnson could see no bicycle would go;
"You bear yourself, and the machine as well."
Gennets for germans sprang from Othello,
And Ixion rides upon a single wheel.

Courage. Weren't strips of heart culture seen
Of late mating two periodicities?
Did not at one time even Darwin
Graft annual upon perennial trees?

Note: Dr. Johnson said it, somewhere in Boswell. Iago threatened Brabantio about gennets. Ixion rides on one wheel because he failed in an attempt at mixed marriage with Juno which would have produced demigods, two-wheeled because inheriting two life periods.

William Empson (from his Collected Poems)