Holub, Miroslav

Primary Category: Literature / Poetry

Genre: Poem

Annotated by:
Willms, Janice
  • Date of entry: Feb-05-1997


On surface, this metaphorically endowed poem details the life cycle of a tapeworm, beginning as a tiny resident in the "protective slime" of mucosae, eventually outgrowing the host, and overrunning the environment as it attains a "philosophical dimension / in which it's the only form of matter. . . . " The parasite shrinks again into "little spores of embecile agreement" which wait for another chance, another cycle of growth and power. The parasite metaphor works beautifully for a wide variety of social and political phenomena the poem does not identify.


Although the reader may speculate on Holub's intent in describing the tiny, secretive beginnings of an eventual power so destructive that it leaves only "tombstones and mercilessness" before receding to lie in wait for its next opportunity, it is easy to substitute one's own view of potential threats to universal order. Holub adroitly combines his science and his art to create an almost paradigmatic metaphor.


Translated by David Young and Dana Habova.

Primary Source

Vanishing Lung Syndrome


Oberlin College Press

Place Published

Oberlin, Ohio