by Marc Vincenz
at the Oxford Medical Convention 1851
And here you meet yourself again reflected in the golden amber, trapped like an extinct insect, inside the round ball of her eye.
—Rainer Maria Rilke, “Schwarze Katze”
This wild child. This freak of nature.
This pacing boy who sheers and grunts has decadence
only for water and the sunrise.
He abhors the pipe-smoke of mansions,
the comforts of carpets and papered interiors.
Surely he is part of the great animal continuum.
Note the raised forehead, the elongated ears.
The wide nostrils. And where is his need for geometry?
for lines and symmetry? His hope for utopia?
And Gentlemen, observe the lack of a symbolic imagination.
He hardly knows how to hold a pen.
And paint? He rather eats it—
possibly due to the nutrients he is lacking
from his sedentary diet of dirt and twigs and wild berries.
Where we meet nature with the edges of our tools
he embraces it, rubbing himself in mud and leaves,
twittering quite happily like the birds.
And we have found, just like the dog to his bone,
he hides all his decomposing possessions in the ground,
possibly for the chance to dig them up and admire them again later.
And he is quite color blind, unable to distinguish
the fleeting from matters of irrefutable consequence.
Here, Gentlemen: let me present to you the living worm
plucked from our dusty book of nature.
previously published in Brink Magazine