I had a fat dream about this poem last night, probably from the stout Cortez reference. I might have heard it while vaguely dozing with the TV turned on one of my nightly pre-bedtime comedy shows (teeheehee). It was a jelly belly of a dream in which I awoke from a thousand years of slumberous ‘nothing is new’ sleep and, after being one of the first white guys to cross the Atlantic, (and then after climbing – sweaty in heavy armor, to the top of a mountain), only to find myself staring at another fucking ocean. It vexed me to no good end; it made me want to disengage my very tap root from all moorings. A wild surmise not first filled with wonder.
It must have been like seeing Andy Kaufman for the first time, and then finding out he really did have a charter bus waiting for you (for a trip to milk and cookie land) -- when all you really wanted was to go home and sleep.
Or, like seeing Jesus from my grave when the lights go off.
“On First Looking into Chapman’s Homer”
Much have I travell’d in the realms of gold,
And many goodly states and kingdoms seen;
Round many western islands have I been
Which bards in fealty to Apollo hold.
Oft of one wide expanse had I been told
That deep-browed Homer ruled as his demesne;
Yet did I never breathe its pure serene
Till I heard Chapman speak out loud and bold:
Then felt I like some watcher of the skies
When a new planet swims into his ken;
Or like stout Cortez when with eagle eyes
He star’d at the Pacific — and all his men
Look’d at each other with a wild surmise —
Silent, upon a peak in Darien.