Winter 2001 • Vol. XXIII No. 1 Poetry |

Meditation on A and The

Last night the world reduced itself to a and the And for a number of numberless hours   Everyone spoke in a language combining The two, like the binary code of zero   And one, or the two pairs of nucleotides, The series of couplets   Determining who we are, So that every hesitation   Was not a stutter but a meaning, Though every sentence sounded like a stutter.   But what is an article, anyway, And how definite can a definite article be   When it renders something more abstract, Not less, just by saying the   Instead of thee; And what about the definiteness of a,   That is, for instance, of a pear, Which means a thing apart from anything else:   The pear on the table is not just a pear But the pear, but the pear soon becomes   More than a pear, and so less, Because it enters the realm of pearness,   A rather peerless place to be. Is the quality of pear   Like the quality of mercy, And does anyone have mercy on the and a,

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Archaic Notions

By Philis Levin

Last night the world reduced itself to a and the And for a number of numberless hours   Everyone spoke in a language combining The two, like the binary code […]

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