Wednesday, September 1, 2010
It is known that by striking his hoof Pegasus created the spring Hippocrene, at the foot of Helicon, the seat of the Muses. But this only means that everyone can drink from the spring: wanderers, oxen - and poets, too, under the condition that they return to the spring, that is to the beginning. There are few of them, and they don't swim with the stream, which carries with it toppled ideologies, smashed icons and - garbage.
The old mare metaphor was put out to pasture, they thought she was no longer good for anything. This was not done without great losses in the sphere of poetics, which does not at all mean playing the poet, but craft. In a shipwrecked world, nothing can be compared to anything else. That's why, the innovators think, one must multiply the tautologies (the spiritual self-sufficiency) of egotists. Ego + Ego = Ego. E + E = E. And then the world is perfectly futile, that is coherent - consistent.
Pegasus is lonely and one of a kind.
Poor Pegasus! You are indifferent to all this. You are an immortal horse. You freed yourself from the yoke of the pretenders who claim you. You know very well that people are always trying to hitch the divinities - good and evil ones - to their carts, to get them to pull those silly carts down to forbidden dives.
-- Zbignew Herbert, from "Pegasus," in The Collected Prose, 1948-1998, edited by Alissa Valles
Pictured: James Thurber's Pegasus, for Poetry magazine; photo by Gary Sullivan