5 May 2005, 2:36am

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The Invention of Automata

by Cole Swensen 

Perhaps simply from nostalgia
                                                          and a love of things that interlock:

John Müller’s iron dragonfly, who flew, and his artificial eagle, who went out
ahead to meet the Emperor Maximilian, June 7, 1470. And a wild duck that
could fly, eat, and cry all at once, driven by a system of interlocking chains,
and a peacock on St. Christopher Island, who, it’s said, could sing. All these
marvels ran like a common pocket watch, which wasn’t all that common then

and are, I think, related to the case of Wolgamot, the Englishman, who made
his name training bees, who walked about the countryside covered with
them, even to his face and hands, and caressed them and let them drink
from his eyes.