Saturday, May 19, 2012

Only One Explanation

Down on the dock, a couple of laborers on their day off:
“fishing”, as the saying goes --
standing beside their propped-up rods,
and staring down into the water beyond their feet.
(This I beheld from the embankment.)

Then at once --
from off the rocks at the embankment’s base
(I myself having perhaps set it inadvertently  to flight)
a great grey heron spread its wings, immense in spread,
and took off, gliding   not too slow  and not too fast,
barely a foot above the surface of the water.

It whooshed past the standing men, not twenty yards out from them.
Neither budged, nor gave any indication that he had seen.
Tel the ploughman, when the flying boy’s white feet hit the sea,
beside the expensive delicate ship?

They ostensibly came down here to kill fish;
do they care so little for the splendid creature that legitimately feeds on them?

But no:  dim, maybe;  but none   so blind.
There is only one possible, logical explanation.
Each was adrift and asleep in the deep,
amid the cool of a fathomless pool of thought,
contemplating the RIEMANN HYPOTHESIS.

That has to be it.


[Postscript]  WWII reporter, re a sudden flock of Messerschmidts:

Peasants were at work in the lush fields … They did not look up to watch the roaring machines, but sat on their horse-drawn mowers   and watched the swath of grain they were cutting.
-- Wm Shirer, The Nightmare Years (1984), p. 572

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