Poem Of Everything


“Fate often saves an undoomed man when his courage is good.” -Beowulf

A story to adore? Beowulf is a text, when I finally got around to grasping it, that occupies forever the left ventricle of my heart. I have the story in a number of versions but the one I refer to most is from The Norton Anthology of English Literature – Fifth Edition, which I either bought used for English courses at whatever rip-off university bookstore back in 1984 or I stole from some chick who kept it on a window sill above her sordid and protein flake-laden futon. Hence I prefer the modern English version of the original damaged manuscript based on Frederick Klaeber’stranslation of the poem. And if I may go out on an emotional and irrational limb, this story contains everything aliens need to know about humanity in order to make an informed invasion of our planet.

Excess exaggeration aside, there is truly something magical about this story even though the text is allusive, based on conjecture and not very cohesive. Read in verse it’s also somewhat of a tongue twister. What really stands out about this story, though, are the characters Beowulf, Grendal and Grendal’s mother. The triangle these three share is awash with scholarly interpretation. Told by Anonymous, the story takes place at a time when northern Europe was just beginning to adapt the Roman God of Christianity, where the biblical Cain (as in the first murderer) is even mentioned when trying to explain where Grendal’s mother stems from. I don’t know about you, but someone as curious as I am regarding the ills of religious indoctrination that have ruined life on this planet, that’s about as cool as watching Jujubes melt on a sidewalk in July in Florida. And another thing. As I read Beowulf I can’t help but think about the people who heard this story centuries ago as it was told aloud. Back then not many people could read. I imagine bearded landsman and milky skinned fems gathered around open fires, drinking mead, and all dreaming of viking heroics as the reactionary greed and wanton ignorance of southern European false-gods knock at their doors.

Oh well. The Danes, the Geats, the Germanins were all conquered as the God of Rome pushed aside Thor and adopted Santa Claus and Easter bunnies and mixed well with the romantically bored milky babes of Anglo-Sexia who still can’t help but fall for the thrills and machismo of darker skinned men when it comes to deflowering. And all that’s left is imagination pure. Speaking of which. Michael Crichton (yeah, the guy that gave us those weird dinosaur movies) did a brilliant job of playing around with Beowulf with his interpretation in the book “Eaters of the Dead”. The novel was then the basis of the movie “The 13th Warrior” which ended up being a box-office disaster. But I loved it because of how he portayed Grendal’s mother. The only problem with the film is that it doesn’t include Beowulf’s death, i.e. the final heroic battle with the second off-spring of Grendal’s mother, the dragon. For that Robert Zemeckis filmed a somewhat more accurate version of the story in the 2007 digitally animated film starring the motion capture of Angelina Jolie’s body (hubba, hubba). I wonder if there’s some room out there for worst-writer’s interpretation of Beowulf? Nomatter.


Rant on.