KARL POPPER VISITS BANKS’ PENINSULA
Culture, I suppose is something you take with you,
like Samuel Butler dragging his piano up the Rangitata
or the Paradise Lost that Joseph Banks
pressed alien leaves in, like slips of faded silk.
I, Hitler’s gift to the Antipodeans,
am here less Odysseus in Phaeacia than
Ovid in exile among deceptively pale barbarians;
hence I have run out of things to say.
Here I am cut off, abgeschnitten
from Europe, searching for the kabalistic key
to unlock all landscapes. Finis Austriae
as Freud says; the old world’s Gethsemane –
which is an odd metaphor for a Viennese Jew’s
use, but this is a gentile land made new.
The good ice cream makes the distance bearable.
But no man is an island, not quite an island Sirmio...
A peninsula, a disappointed island.
Halbinsel. Kultur and Heimat: Heidegger’s
Nazi ghost whispers Dasein in my ear.