Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Reading "Five Eleven Ninety Nine" or Seems Like Today I’m Out Of My Mind. (What Was I Doing In There Anyway?)

It’s early. Way too early. I get out my folder and look for the poem we’re going to discuss today. It’s long. Way too long. Somebody said it was a really good poem. Well, I don’t really have a choice anyhow; I better start reading. „Five Eleven Ninety Five“. As the fire burns, my tired eyes zoom in and out of the text, capturing a detail here, overseeing another one there and maybe even unitentionally skipping some verses once in a while. The fire is tremendous and as a variety of things are being ritually, it seems, burned I grow tired and more tired. Suddenly, I start recognizing Christological allusions and religious elements. I’m surprised. I wasn’t expecting that from Armitage, but I barely know him, so...I highlight the re-telling of the biblical scene in which Jesus carries his own cross to his crucifixion; where he carries the „pole“ and „raises the cross to ist full height and hugs it like a bear“ and there’s „an incense of palm and cedar, the scent of olive and cypress“. Now, I’m all into the poem, still sleepy, but excited to trace back this unexpected bit of intertextuality. While I’m still pondering on the cross and the fire, the anouncer mumbles we have arrived and the train slows down to a halt. I check my watch: 8.20 a.m. Enough time to get to class. With pleasant anticipation, I get out of the train only to find that I’ve just arrived in Zürich.

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