Published on December 10, 2014
This poem is part of Moers’ novel The City of Dreaming Books, in which there is a large civilization composed entirely of humanoid dinosaurs (known as Lindworms) with a strong literary culture. One such dinosaur was revered as a wise old poet, but he was hit in the head by a falling stone and became partially insane, believing himself to be a cupboard stuffed with old, dirty spectacles. The old Lindworm wrote the poem soon afterwards. Though the poem itself seems random (and, obviously, quite funny), it must have taken some intense thought to put together. Moers uses words like “besmirched” instead of “smeared” or “corrupted” to make the rhyme m ore natural and follow a better rhythm, and it feels good to read the piece out loud. One of the most incredible things about this author in general is that all of his works were originally written in German, so his poems and new words must have taken imme nse effort to translate. Moers’ translator, John Brownjohn, is a literary translator by trade who has translated and edited over 160 books. Sean Clark, a review writer from Chamber Four, says of the book itself, “It’s a thick book full of some big words, b ut also one of the lightest, most whimsical books I’ve read in a long while –one that places a lot of demands on the reader’s imagination.” This whimsy and inventive spirit carries over to Moers’ poetry. I personally like this poem because of its inherent discord. The fictional Lindworm who wrote the poem (in the context of Moers’ book) is mentally unstable and cannot consistently form sentences, but because of his practice and natural talent as a poet, he’s able to illustrate his experience through writing in a non- garbled way. Still, it doesn’t make much sense to the average (sane) reader. Obviously the author is not a cupboard, because he could not possibly have written anything if he was. The idea that such a compromised mind could create such a self-contradictory yet well-crafted poem is dizzying. Apparently, I enjoy being dizzied.