The Fuchsiad. An Heroic-Erotic Musical Poem In Prose

IFuchs wasn't quite born by his mother… In the beginning, when he came into being, he wasn't even seen, he was only heard, for Fuchs, upon being born, chose to come out through one of his grandmother's ears, his mother having no musical ear to speak of…Fuchs then went directly to musical conservatory… Here he took the form of a perfect chord, after which, out of artistic modesty, he first spent three years in the depths of a piano unbeknownst to anybody, then, coming to the surface, studied harmony and counterpoint, and graduated in piano playing… He came down, next, but found out, contrary to all his expectations, and to his chagrin, that two of the sounds he was composed of had suffered alterations with the passing of time and had degenerated, one of them to a moustache with spectacles reaching behind the ears, and the other to an umbrella – both of which, together with a G sharp that was still left him, gave Fuchs his precise, definitive and allegorical form… Later, in his puberty, it is said, Fuchs grew some kind of genitals which were but one young and exuberant fig leaf that made him uncommonly shy since he would have only given himself at the very most a flower or something no matter what…This leaf has been his daily food as well, it is believed. The artist ingests it every evening at bedtime; not a worry on his mind, he descends to the bottom of his umbrella, and after locking himself up by using two musical keys, he sleeps transported by musical staffs, rocked on the wings of angelic harmonies, and beguiled by dreams heard well into the following day, when – shy as he is – he will not get out of the umbrella unless a new leaf has grown in its place. IIAt one time Fuchs had to have his umbrella repaired, so he was obliged to spend the night out in the open air. Night with its mysterious charms, its otherworldly sounds and whispers that lead to dreaming and sadness, impressed Fuchs to the point of stepping – ecstatically – on the piano pedals three hours, but without playing, for fear of disturbing that peaceful night; he reached by this weird means of locomotion a darkened district where a mysterious power attracted him against his will, and as the town gossips say, precisely on the famous street which the good emperor Trajan, following Nerva's, his father's counsel, pointed out to Bucur, the sheep herder, to lay out among the first in the town which bears his name…Suddenly a good number of the earthly votaries of Venus, humble servants, all of them, at love's altar, all dressed in transparent whites, their lips the color of burgundy and their eyes shaded, surrounded Fuchs on all sides… It was a superb summer night. Songs and gaiety, sweet whispers and melodies all around… The vestals of pleasure welcomed the artist with flowers, artfully embroidered napkins, curious cans and antique vessels brimming with fragrances. They were shouting and they were trying to outdo each other: "Dearest Fuchs, let me have your immaterial love!" "Oh, Fuchs, you are the only one who can love us in purity!"; then, as if urged by one and the same thought, they ended up chanting in unison "Dear Fuchs, do play a sonata!"…Fuchs slipped shyly inside the piano. All efforts to make him come out were in vain. The artist relented to allow just his hands pulled outside, then gave magisterial performances of one dozen concertos, fantasias, etudes and sonatas; for three continuous hours he played scale as well as all sorts of exercises for "legato," "staccato," and "Schule der Geläufigkeit"… The Goddess Venus herself, Venus born of the white foam of the sea was enchanted, very likely and especially by the "legato" studies the sonorities of which reached her on mount Olympus and disturbed Venus' quiet (Venus who had not been anybody's since Vulcan and Adonis) who now sinned in her mind and, defeated by passion and unable to resist the temptation in the hearing of Fuchs, made up her mint to have him for the night… With this end in mind, she sent Cupid to shoot an arrow into his heart – the arrow point carrying a little note inviting him to Olympus. IIIThe Three Graces appeared at the appointed hour…They picked Fuchs up and carried him lightly on soft, voluptuous arms all the way to a silk ladder made from music staffs, a ladder hanging from the balcony of Olympus where Venus was expecting him…It so happened however, Vulcan-Hephaistos caught on to everything and saw to it that Zeus would send a downpour by way of revenge…Fuchs, on the other hand, his umbrella out to be repaired, would not admit defeat; since he knew how to move in and around staffs with the greatest ease, and aided as he was by the strong gusts of his composer's inspiration, he kept moving higher, braving the elements of nature. He finally made it, soaked to Olympus. Aphrodite gave him a hero's welcome. She embraced him, she kissed him passionately, then she sent him to a prune drying plant. When night came, Fuchs was ushered into the alcove. Around him there were only flowers and song. The Graces and the other Olympian attendants of Venus went dancing before him covering with flowers and sprinkling heady scents on him, as little cupids in the distance, under the divine baton of Orpheus, were intoning songs in praise of love…The Nine Muses showed up next. In Euterpe's melodious voice they called out this greeting to Fuchs: "Welcome, chosen mortal; your art brings men closer to the Gods! Venus is expecting you! May Jupiter make your art and love worthy of the Goddess – our mistress, and may a new and superior seed arise from the love that unites you, the seed that will people not just the earth which can only aspire to Olympus, but Olympus too, which is so like the Earth in being subject to decadence!..." Said they, and the little invisible cupids intoned the praises of love once more, as the rhapsodes of Olympus exalted that immortal moment to high heaven on their lyres. Before long everything became silent again… There was nobody around any more… There was a bluish sort of half-light in the alcove. Venus was naked: she was light-skinned, her hands raised behind her head and joined under her unbraided golden hair in a gesture of delicious abandon and intense voluptuousness she stretched her superb milky body on the bed of soft cushions and flowers. All was warmth and provocative fragrances. Out of modesty and fear, Fuchs would have wished to get inside some crack. But since there is no such thing on Olympus, he realized that he had to make himself bold. He felt the urge to run around the room a little, but Aphrodite of the fine hands saved him from his quandary with her rose-scented fingers… She picked him up gingerly, she caressed him, she lifted him two or three times to the ceiling and after giving him a long soulful look, she kissed him passionately. She caressed him some more, then she kissed him hundreds of times and placed him lightly between her breasts… Fuchs started to shake with joy at the same time that fear made him want to jump down somewhere like a flea. But because those warm and fragrant breasts had made him dizzy and confused, he took to running all over, like some tadpole at its wits' end, traveling in a zig-zag line on the Goddess's body, twitch-fast, passing like a madman over the pink tips of the breasts, over the silky shoulders, squeezing between her hot and curvy legs…Fuchs was changed beyond recognition. His glasses cast kinky reflexions, his moustache was libidinous and lubricious. Quite some time went by in this manner, but the artist did not have the foggiest idea what was still left for him to do, nor could the Goddess wait very much longer. He had heard somewhere "In love, as opposed to music, all ends with overture." Oh, well, Fuchs could neither find… not hear it anywhere…Suddenly it dawned on him that just as Overture, in music, may refer to nothing but the ear, what with the ear being the noblest Overture of the body (among those known to Fuchs) – organ of divine music and also the way by which he, coming into the world, saw the light of day for the first time – supreme happiness could be found nowhere but in the ear…Fuchs perked up, gathered strength, tensed up, and rushed, in a "sforzando," at an unspeakable, frantic speed to penetrate and to push through the little ear-hole on the right ear-lobe of the Goddess, close by the spot where she inserted her earrings; he completely disappeared inside. The joint choirs of the little invisible cupids and muses sang the praises of love once more in the distance, and once more the rhapsodes of Olympus exalted, with inspiration, the immortal moment to high heaven on their lyres…After an hour's stay, during which time he checked his fig leaf and sketched a romance for the piano, Fuchs showed up, finally, on the ear-lobe, in tails and white tie, radiant, satisfied, thanking and congratulating the crowds, right and left, which had waited in the cold, precisely as he knew he should behave on Earth whenever he gave a gala concert. He stepped forward and offered Venus the romance he had dedicated to her. But to his surprise and dismay the artist discovered that not one round of applause came from anywhere. As a matter of fact, all the inhabitants of Olympus were staring at each other in confusion. Amazed, at first, to see that Fuchs considered his task fully executed, feeling, then, opposed and gravely offended, she who had not suffered a similar affront from Zeus, got to her feet and red with anger shook her head, gracefully yet powerfully enough to make Fuchs fall down to Earth. Suddenly, as if obeying an invisible signal, all Olympus was up in a roar… Shouts and threats rained all about. Everybody was livid at the insult that clumsy mortal had leveled at Olympus… One powerful hand, following the orders of Apollo and Mars, yanked Fuchs' fig leaf out, then tacked on the things to which he was really entitled. A stiff ordinance was passed that fig leaves from then on, would indeed be awarded, but only to statues… A delicate hand, in the meantime, actually the Goddess's rosy-fingered hand, picked the artist by one ear and, with one noble motion, threw him out into Chaos. IVA deluge of catcalls and threats. A deluge of dissonant sounds, chords reversed and unresolved, cadences eluded, false relations, trills and, above all, rests, rained over the hounded artist. A hailstorm of sharps and sharp naturals hit him on the back; one somewhat long rest shattered his glasses… Other, meaner, Gods threw Roman trumpets, Aeolian harps, lyres and cymbals at him, the peak of vengeance pouring down in the form of "Actaeon," "Polyeucte," and Enesco's IIIrd Symphony, their music, this time, literally, descending from Olympus. Fuchs' fate had been decided. He first had to wander through Chaos at a fantastic speed, in five minute circles around the planet Venus, then, to expiate his affront to the Goddess, he would be exiled all by himself on the uninhabited planet with the obligation of delivering himself, all by his own means, of his own progeny, that superior breed of artists which he would leave there and which ought to have sprung forth on Olympus out of his love for Venus. Fuchs had already started on his penance when the tender-hearted Pallas Athene (unexpectedly) intervened on his behalf…He was allowed to drop back to Earth, but on one condition: there being enough useless progeny around, artistic or otherwise, there was no need for a new one to be created… Fuchs was charged, however, to wipe out snobbery and intellectual cowardice from the arts of the Earth.Faced with a terrible dilemma, and after long and mature pondering, the artist decided that his latter condition was harder to fulfill than the one requiring that he create progeny on the planet Venus…It was a valiant decision that the hero took then as he wandered through Chaos. He declared that he accepted Athene's favor, condition and all; but when he sensed that he was getting nearer to the Earth, by somehow moving a bit to the right, he dropped in the very same red-light district he felt an attraction for and where he had originally left from. This time thinking himself well prepared to learn and to practice there all those things he did not till then know, and so he could, later on, ask Venus for an audience and a chance to reinstate himself over those points that he had left so very much to be desired. This way, he told himself, the creation of the new breed of super-men would be possible, and this way, too, the accomplishing of the impossible task he had to perform on earth would come to pass.But the handmaidens of pleasure who received him with smiles, upon finding out what his intentions were this time around, surrounded him, brusquely stopped him from going any further, and feeling themselves slighted and angered, shaking their fists in the air in protest, excommunicated him from the district shouting all at the same time: "Alas, Fuchs, we've lost you and can barely recognize you, for you were once upon a time the only man since Plato who still knew how to love innocently… How can you bear to came and walk in our midst! Woe to us from now on, doing without the aesthetic experience of your sonatas; woe to you, doing without the inspiration our elevated love could give you! Shame on her who, although our mistress, Mount Olympus' and the world's, was incapable of understanding you and, by refusing both your love and your art, caused you to fall so high! Go away, Fuchs, for you are not worthy of us." "Go away, Fuchs, you dirty satyr! How could you not respect the noblest organ, the ear?! Go away, Fuchs, you are giving our district a bad name.""Go away, Fuchs, and may the Gods protect you!"Excommunicated, and fearing an eventual discharge of wet anger from them, Fuchs sat hurriedly at the piano and pedaling energetically and uninterruptedly, arrived finally at his quiet home, depressed, disconcerted, disgusted with mankind and with the Gods, love, and the Muses…He ran to take his umbrella from the repair shop and, taking his piano along, went out of sight in the bosom of the great and boundless nature…From that spot music has been beaming away with equal force in all direction, fulfilling thus, in part, the utterance of grateful Destiny which had ordained him to spread that utterance far and wide through the aid of his scales, concerts, and staccato etudes, and through the power of education, to bring about the appearance of a better and superior race of men, to the greatest glory of himself, the piano, and of Eternity… English version by Stavros DELIGIORGIS

by Urmuz (Dem. Dumitrescu-Buzău) (1883-1923)