Close To The Art Of Those Fearless At Sea

In the first edition of Kant's 3rd Critique,
In which he treats The Sublime,
A printer's error substitutes the word
"Sinnlich" (sensuality) for "sittlich" (morality)
Thus wiping out at a stroke
30 years of thinking.
There is a pre-history to Rimbaud's,
"I is another." (Letter to the Seer),
Which renders it elusive in its authorship,
And therefore still more authoritative.
In 1854, Nerval inscribes a photo of himself,
"I am the other." In 1870, six months
Before Rimbaud's world-reversing letter,
The Comte de Lautreamont writes,
"If I exist, I am not another . . ."
(He then starved to death
At the age of 24,
Shifting our emphasis to "If.")
Deep sleep lasts seconds.
Satan's Milton howls down crowds,
Selling vowels. Baal's owl shouts
Out loud. I am aware of the serenity
With which I accept these assertions . . .
That one word means both
The shortening of a word
By omitting one or more
Sounds from its middle, and
The abrupt loss of consciousness
Associated with any interruption of
The flow of oxygenated blood to our brains . . .

The stars start to
Come apart. The sea
Wades in with its giant fists --
Her back against tall walls . . .

"I can no longer tolerate the weight of
       this sad philosopher's head,
Bloated as mutton, fat and heavy
     and hunched like a moon
Carnivorous fish devour as it hangs
     too close to the sea!"
Here it gets serious and you read alone

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Geoffrey Cruickshank-Hagenbuckle