And why is the sun such a bad friend
to someone walking in the desert?
And why is the sun so friendly
in the hospital garden?
Are these birds or fish here
in nets of moonlight?
Was it where they lost me
that I was able to find myself?
Pablo Neruda, from the Book of Questions
The above excerpts from Neruda are from a post I did last summer having some translation fun (see here).
It is my birthday month and so I am in question mode all sorts. I believe questions can be their own genre of literature (ask Neruda).
There is the story of the Rabbi being asked by his son: What is the meaning of life? – to which the Rabbi responded with: Why would you ruin such a great question with an answer?
The poem below by Mary Oliver turns on its questions, creates from a desire to know, a knowing.
Some Questions You Might Ask – Mary Oliver
Is the soul solid, like iron?
Or is it tender and breakable, like
the wings of a moth in the beak of an owl?
Who has it, and who doesn’t?
I keep looking around me.
The face of the moose is as sad
as the face of Jesus.
The swan opens her white wings slowly.
In the fall, the black bear carries leaves into the darkness.
One question leads to another.
Does it have a shape? Like an iceberg?
Like the eye of a hummingbird?
Does it have one lung, like the snake and the scallop?
Why should I have it, and not the anteater
who loves her children?
Why should I have it, and not the camel?
Come to think of it, what about the maple trees?
What about the blue iris?
What about all the little stones, sitting alone in the moonlight?
What about roses, and lemons, and their shining leaves?
What about the grass?