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Wednesday, March 22, 2006

Thought Piece

For whatever reason, I sought out this poem today. Don’t ask me why – I really don’t know. It is such a delightful, subtle work. I enjoy it more with every repeat visit. How I envy the beasts that suffer no forethought of grief!

By Mark Van Doren

And did the animals in Noah’s ark –
That was of oleander wood, with cabins
Cunningly bitumined in and out –
Did all those animals lie quietly?
For months and weeks and days, until the dove
Came home, and they were dry on Ararat,
Did every bird, with head beneath its wing,
Did every beast, with forepaws folded in,
Did every reptile, coiled upon itself,
Lie sleeping as no man did, patiently?
A man might think this tempest would not end,
Nor timbers cease to creak, nor the light come.
These did not know it rained, these did not know
Their kind survived in them if it survived.
A thinking man might doubt it, and in misery
Listen. Did they listen? But to what?
They did not know of time, they did not count
The waves. Then did they cry out in their dreams?
Or did they even dream, those specimen souls?

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