SENHAL AND THE MECHANICAL DEMANDS.
--Spinoza wrote--Senhal recalled--
even none must yield to reason.
The philosophy of a lens grinder,
who works good by what
away, eats sin with the glass dust
& the divided rainbow,
as a fatal tax.
His miracles ended
where they could be imagined without
But what can be imagined without amazement?
Grammar solves a set of hexes; so does glamour.
& even the known species smarts with wonder
when magnified to a certain power.
Who would glimmer with it, that pain alambiquee,
given the power to polish
the astonished shellac from the engine?
(Engine, from ingenium,
a talent or device.)
For this failed attempt, Pandora--
first of all automatons--incurred a curse.
When the sun struck the statue of Memon,
the liminal air went weak in the knees,
hazed with all manner of melody.
Among the contrivances of Ctesibius:
a blackbird that sang when a gout of water
was crushed into its beak, a mechanical woman
who could quaff wine from a trick kylix.
The artificer Yan Shi delighted King Mu of Zhou
with a lewd seducer, actually an android,
whose charm offensive could be stalled
by the simple expedient
of removing its heart
(so its mouth could not speak),
(so its eyes could not see),
and its kidneys
(so its legs could not walk).
Spring-loaded horses, bamboo magpies,
the swift echec!
of the Mechanical Turk.
All this so that the enemy might sleep, soundly
as Mr. Rochester in the burning bed?
Love, lay down your autoharp.
Leave the orchestrion scrolls furled tight
in their corduroy cases.
The lighter & the lantern we keep
but only till we cannot help it
& Sinope winks out of sight below
the separating circle.