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Enigmatic Filler

February 2, 2014

Once you’ve admitted that it is filler how enigmatic can a post be? In this case I need a block of homemade prose to put some space between two boughten (more like borrowed) poems, “Pigs” by Australia’s finest living poet, Les Murray (author of, among other volumes, Subhuman Redneck Poems), and one by James Henry, a 19th Century Irish doctor and classicist whose long-neglected poetry was rediscovered by Christopher Ricks and finally published to widespread acclaim (as far as that goes in the world of Victorian poetry) in 2002. Some readers of the Subverbo emails may remember the one that included his great ode to illumination, “My Stearine Candles,” accompanied by threat of more Henriata to come. Today I finally make due. I will go with a poem about pigeons this time, to rhyme with the pigs.

None of this is enigmatic, in fact it is enigma-reducing, offering explanation and contextualization. If the rules allowed I would probably go back and strike “Enigmatic” from the the title, like one of those California bloggers. But this is Virginia and we have standards, even for filler. Maybe it is not the right day for enigmatism, not for me. Not because it is Groundhog Day, traditionally celebrated in Charlottesville with the gift of a coconut. Not because of Black History Month, the Superbowl, or Parisi’s birthday. More because it is a time of sadness and dread. The enigmatic flourishes in the perceptions of the free mind, the unburdened soul, the hopeful self. It is as much of a promise as a puzzle, a tangled sign of cosmic fullness. To the stricken mind there are no enigmas only blanks, and chaos not even howling, but dully humming.

If I had been more circumspect I would have entitled this post “Day of the Groundhog” and churned out a few hundred words on that topic, touching upon such sub-topics as famous groundhogs through history, the question of woodchucks, Groundhog Day versus Groundhog’s Day, shitty towns in Pennsylvania and why they will never leave us alone, the enigmatic career of Stephen Tobolowsky, the troubling claims of the haruspices (i.e. that if you really want to learn about future weather patterns from a groundhog you have to cut the little guy open and look inside), and, relatedly, groundhog recipes. But no matter, now I am getting close upon four hundred words, some of them quite long, which should serve the purpose and lessen the cheat.

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