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Momus

"The Death of Empedokles"

Empedokles the philosopher famously declared
That everything is made of fire and water, earth and air
He came from Agrigentum on the Sicilian plain
And also said that motion is the only kind of change

Straub & Huillet made four films of the death of Empedokles
And each one showed the Holderlin play
With tiny differences
Our philosopher hero
Stands in the wood and sighs
That the townspeople have kicked him out
Because he claims to be divine

The rustling flick of a lizard, the constant change of light
The passing clouds, the sound of birds
And the wind that stirs the pines
Empedokles climbs the volcano
To throw himself right in
The townsfolk seem to change their minds
And come to plead with him

The bark of a dog, the crow of a c*ck
And the sound of a faraway jet
Empedokles, with a mind to die, ascends the volcano summit
The horrible smell of sulphur, lightning bright or dim
A philosopher up on Etna
Is now jumping off the rim

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