Ignus Fatuus (1 Viewer)

Within the W.H. Hudson classic Green Mansions, a haunting work that happened to be the first classic I ever read as a child and it instilled in me a great love of reading and the power of the golden word - the author uses the words "ignis fatuus." Hmm. Those are the same words used by Bukowski to name what I feel is one of his greatest poems on the nature of death in life. Here's what I found...

From the dictionary:

Ignus fatuus, sometimes written as ignis fatuus, is the name given to a phosphorescent type of light that is sometimes observed hovering over swampy ground. The word can also be used to mean an illusion or something that deludes or misleads.

Ignis fatuus is taken from the Medieval Latin words "ignis" meaning fire and "fatuus" meaning foolish (fool's fire).

The phenomenon of Ignis Fatuus is known by a number of names including friar's lantern, will-o'-the-wisp and jack-o'-lantern. The reasons attributed for Ignis fatuus are that swampy grounds, bogs, marshes etc release marsh gas or methane as a result of bacteriological action etc. It is believed that the gases so accumulated may at times spontaneously combust.

The phenomenon of Ignus fatuus has also entered into folklore, probably because earlier man could not completely understand why it occurred.

Bukowski talks about death beyond the physical - what real death in life is, perhaps as something illusory or not what we normally think it is - and he happens to recite Ignus Fatuus (the two words being atmospheric within themselves and casting a spell) on At Terror Street and Agony Way. The poem is a favorite because of the combined depth of Bukowski's words and the power of his great performance as if death was whispering in his ears what it truly is.

Ignus Fatuus.
poptop, I grew up calling that glow in the woods foxfire (remember the multivolume Foxfire books from the '70s?) --- it's a common phenomena in the Appalachian mountains due to the high atmospheric moisture (Smokey Mountains) and decaying wood producing fungi, mostly old stumps, check it out below


we would watch the fire dance on top of those old stumps and fallen tree trunks for hours, fascinating sight

I have no idea how it became known as foxfire
Well, I just heard this, for the first time.
Greatly impressed.
Then I looked it up in the database and was surprised to see that it hadn't been printed since it's one and only appearance in Ferment no. 6 1965.
Could it be so?
It rings like a distant cousin to The Genius of the Crowd.
And I see that none of the 3 poems in Ferment 6 have ever been printed since either.
Could it be so?

"Let it be known that a man need not be Christ to be crusified"
Let it be known.

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