Friday, January 22, 2010

Poetry Friday: Why

This poem pushed itself on me while I was meditating (or trying to meditate). It has the form of a children's book -- the questions children ask -- but the answers aren't the type we usually give to children. Maybe we should.


Why is the sea so deep?
The dark to keep.

Why is the ocean wide?
To mend the divide.

Why does the river run?
No gain is long won.

Why do the leaves turn red?
To dress the dead.

Why do the earthworms writhe?
In labor blithe.

Why do the birds fly?
To mystify.

Why do the waves churn?
To cool the burn.

Why is the sky blue?
To buoy you.

Why do the clouds not fall?
Pretenders, all.

Why does the wind blow?
The more to show.

Why does the thunder roar?
To hasten the oar.

Why does the sun rise?
To lure our eyes.

Why does the sun set?
To nurse regret.

Why does the world go on?
This rhyme is done.

-- Lauren Thompson

I think of my dad, who is a scientist through and through. He would say that what we can't measure, we can't really know. He would probably say that we ask the wrong questions. We may ask, why is the sky blue, but we can only discover how the sky is blue. There may be no "why," no objective reason. I'm saying, "Yes, but we always create subjective reasons. Just because they are subjective doesn't make them less interesting." But then we leave the domain of science and enter that of poetry. Or, the dharma.

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