Bestiary, or The Parade of Orpheus, by Guillaume Apollinaire

Apollinaire's Bestiary

The poet includes himself in this procession:
weaver of myths, an octopus spraying ink,
heedless of the microscopic wonders
swarming Orpheus, and more akin
to the quicksilver god who first made a lyre
out of that solid citizen the tortoise.


When the poet writes like crayfish,
we advance backwards,
he must’ve meant
the artist, far from a Cubist
and farther still from Fabre and his farm.


The reader follows unmentioned at the rear,
still chuckling at that line about the peacock
whose magnificent display entails baring his ass.
With the addition of this volume it grows
more colorful than ever, my wall of books.

(I’m reading a book a day for National Poetry Month; click on the book cover to go to its page in Open Library. The podcast will return next week.)

Dave Bonta (bio) crowd-sources his problems by following his gut, which he shares with 100 trillion of his closest microbial friends — a close-knit, symbiotic community comprising several thousand species of bacteria, fungi, and protozoa. In a similarly collaborative fashion, all of Dave’s writing is available for reuse and creative remix under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 United States License. For attribution in printed material, his name (Dave Bonta) will suffice, but for web use, please link back to the original. Contact him for permission to waive the “share alike” provision (e.g. for use in a conventionally copyrighted work).

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