July 23, 2004

The Yoke of Profound Distraction

NOTE: Those of you thinking of leaving early to avoid the rush to the car park would do well to remember that cocktails will be served this afternoon following the final lectures of the Symposium. For more information, you’ll have to wait until the end of my little presentation.
Now, in recognition of your patience this week I have saved the most spellbinding butterfly until last. It is not for nothing that this last butterfly shares its name with Doctor Faust’s son by the beautiful Helena! Prepare to be bewitched by Euphorian Golden!
Schauen Sie nicht nach diesem Schmetterling, dummes Sterblich!
But before we go into detail about the darkly hypnotic motions of this magical moth, it seems in keeping with the rest of the week that I tell you a little about that other Euphorion of Greek ancestory. A native Athenian born around 275 B.C, wealthy Euphorion assisted in the formation of the Royal Library at Antioch (from whence I possess a handful of overdue books on Lepidoptery). A man after my own heart, he had a taste for archaic and obsolete expressions that has rendered his works almost unreadable, but the hardy among you might savour his mythological epics, amatory elegies, epigrams, and best of all, a highly esteemed early satirical poem later translated by emperor Tiberius himself.
In Goethe’s version of the timeless Faust legend, the famous doctor’s son is also named Euphorion. Goethe wrote that the character represented Poetry itself in the manner of the tale of Icarus. His yearning for love, freedom, and heroism brings him into disequilibrium with all that is Earthly, and he is therefore characterised by a tragic imperfection as of one not meant for this world.
So too we have Euphorion Golden, that rarely seen miasma of the night with her wings of vivid sulphur. It is said that to lay your eye upon her wing is to know madness. Others have attempted to distill the sorcery from her sails with pestle and mortar in order to know Faust’s life eternal. If not for my own pact with the Devil, whom I met at a crossroads in the guise of a certain fabled blues singer, I’d be tempted to dabble.
Before moving on to a much needed drink I leave you with the alarming tale of a North Queensland butterfly collector who happened upon a curious abberation of the Euphorion Golden in her garden. What this story does not tell you is what really happened to her. But that I shall leave to your imaginations, which surely shimmer with ghostly mirages of yellow. May your mind be the yoke of profound distraction!
I hope you’ve enjoyed this week of lepidoptery as much as I. We can now see how the butterfly world holds the key to great swathes of antiquity and the Art that lies therein. Sweet przepustnica, I thank you for being my muse this long week of soaring temperatures.
Now, as promised, we must retire to the cooling shade of naughty Papilio Antimachus, who in recompense for her damage to the University grounds must provide the much needed breeze for this afternoon’s cocktails. Those of you who had the patience to read to the end, or the cheek to simply scroll down to the bottom of the page, may place your order for cocktails in my pigeonhole, below. I hardly need tell you what the theme is, but if you have a cockroach tale to share, I’ll work this damn pun into my lecture if it kills me.
And then Mephistophles will have a thing or two to say.

Doctor Pockless

15 thoughts on “The Yoke of Profound Distraction

  1. Oh, and mine’s a pint.
    And here’s my cockroach tale:
    Late in the summer of 1998 I moved into a new flat in central Buda which had just been evacuated by an Australian who I shall call Priscilla. The kitchen was riddled with rattlesome brown cockroaches.
    I asked Priscilla about this and she claimed never to have noticed. I can only assume that the diminutive inch-long European cockroach was of little consequence to a woman accustomed to antipodean spiders the size of handbags. To this day, however, I cannot comprehend how she never met my cockroach colony, unless they moved in in the three hour interlude between tennants.
    Anyway, over the following weeks, I tried the gamut of cockroach sprays and traps available on the Hungarian market. Whilst a foamy blast of Raid caused them to perform a little jig before leaping from their skins and running for the underside of the fridge cartoon style, I found that Protect B, of which I can find no evidene on the Net, was the best in keeping them away.
    During one evening of madness I found myself closing the door to the kitchen and turning out the light to give them plenty of time to scuttle out into the open. Then I’d crank up a cassette of Dione Warwick singing the songs of Burt Bacharach, turn on the kitchen light, and lay waste to them with my aerosol.
    Imagine the alarm on their little insect faces as the lights flared up and the napalm of insecticide rained down from above. And there, grinning in the middle of it, Doctor Pockless looming large. But best of all, to the following soundtrack:
    Anyone who ever loved could look at me
    And know that I love you
    Anyone who ever dreamed could look at me
    and know I dream of you
    Knowing I love you so

    I’ve since had counselling, and I feel much better now.

  2. I’ve managed to go the whole week without mentioning the Acerbia Alpina moth of Siberia once, its been a supreme effort and I hope you all appreciate it me not boring you with that little useless bit of information; that my site shares the name of a dreary moth from the arse end of the planet. No drink for me, I’m going to sit at the bar and flick peanuts at the rest of you and pretend they’re little beetles.

  3. A flagon of mead for me please. Not a cocktail, I know, but at least in keeping with the theme.

  4. Excellent week of seminars, Dr.P.
    I would appreciate a Smirnoffus Blueus Major*, please.
    * I may have made that up, but it’s the product of a warped, classical education. And waaay too much vodka.

  5. I would like a Stinger please,- no cockroach stories, but we once went camping (illegally) in Epping Forest, went looking for firewood, disturbed a hornets’ nest in the dark and got stung 19 times. That’ll teach me.

    annie on July 23, 2004
  6. Thank you, Mr. D. I have since discovered that butterfly is leptir in most of the Balkan tongues and bili-pala in Welsh.
    No winners there, then. It’s still przepustnica for me.

Comments are closed.