A Wild Guess About Old Writings

Nacho Oliden

Heine says that the skies to the Greeks belonged,
And in extravagancies they rejoiced
Till the Crossed Flag was planted on the heights
Of an Olympian peak. They ran in fright
And kept themselves namelessly in the corners;
Some claim Dionysus, and two more rowers,
Through the fog in Tyrol passed clandestine,
Every six months, to drink their joyous wine
And dance their dance.

In Speyer, they heard, near the Rhine, Hermes
Carried souls for some dutch coins in commerce;
And that some whale hunters in the south seas
Came across the very Zeus, who for peace
Had to exchange bronze from Haephestus the lame,
-Bracelets, rings and chains hammered down in flame-
And hunt his way with wooden spear for food,
At an unnamed island, as lonely as Scrooge,
Repentant and poor.

Heine tells us still, that the fight for heavens
Was acquainted, and written, and hidden
By scholars in perfidious collections.
Is that, then, O treason!!! how these versions
Fell in the dark depths of fiction?

Truth is, these ancient works Man discovered,
And vessels appeared all of a sudden,
And with them, engraved stones and glorious mirths
Were given to us expelled from the earth:
We found dialogues from a Greek teacher,
Who explains blind Homer and his virtues,
Who speaks the ourburst of Achilles.

Now, we are often told to study the great,
But whose ouvre did Homer celebrate?
Who inspired this titanic genius?
These notions remain to me mysterious...

What if He who the Firmament designs,
With a quill as large as the highest pines,
Perhaps the spear of the fallen angel,
A rustic rod when grabbed by the Maker,
The underived hexameters of Man sang,
And laid them down to be picked by the hand,
And be seen by the humble human eye?

I allow myself to think possible
That these marvels, these marmoreal fables,
Were not conceived by an earthly author,
Nor there was any initial thinker;
The inaugural works were put from the start,
So that in unwinding each scroll of art,
They would slowly unfold upon Man’s feet
Like a path of stars, and through this deceit,
We can say, the everlasting plot began.

Nacho Oliden

Ignacio Oliden (Buenos Aires, 1997) is a poet, translator and literary critic. He is Co-Editor in Chief of the literary magazine La Piccioletta Barca, and is a member of the editorial comittee of Buenos Aires Poetry (magazine and publishing house). He also participates as a regular critic in the Culture Supplement of the newspaper Perfil (Argentina). His work has appeared in print in newspapers, anthologies, and literary magazines in various countries, and his poetry has been translated into English, Italian and Greek. Among others, he has translated into Spanish the work of John M. Synge, Carl Sandburg, Anna de Noailles, and Marcantonio Flaminio, and he has published a book-length anthology of the poets of the Harlem Renaissance (Poetas del Renacimiento de Harlem, 2023, in collaboration with Juan Arabia). Mester de Juglaría, his first poetry compilation, will be published by Buenos Aires Poetry in 2023.

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