October 3, 2009

"Some Playthings," by John Hollander

Foto: Luke Redmond

A trembling brown bird
standing in the high grass turns
out to be a blown

oakleaf after all.
Was the leaf playing bird, or
was it “just” the wind

playing with the leaf?

Was my very noticing
itself at play with

an irregular

frail patch of brown in the cold
April afternoon?

These questions that hang
motionless in the now-stilled
air: what of their

frailty, in the light
of even the most fragile
of problematic

substances like all
these momentary playthings
of recognition?

Questions that are asked
of questions: no less weighty
and lingeringly

dark than the riddles
posed by any apparent
bird or leaf or breath

of wind, instruments
probing what we feel we know
for some kind of truth.

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