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Experiment 12

The Ragged Boy

page 31

The Ragged Boy

"Le garçon délabré qui n'a rlen à faire..." T.S.Eliot.

It could have been at the family reunion that you heard
for the first time the assertion of the absurd,
or it could have been in the apple orchard
that you saw the cracked shepherd's face on the potsherd;
relics are not so easy to find;
the absurd is easily designed.

Aspects of the same, suddenly chortle
out in space, when they see an asteroid hurtle
in a void, or a star wobbling, as a fat
prima donna makes an aria out of table chat:
"The world's not right with you and me."
The star splits when she hits top C.

You would waltz to the basic bardic strains,
but the old have visions and the young have trains
to catch to work in the mackerel-crowded sea
to tin the fish as food for tea.
The moon gets closer as the self recedes,
because grandma planted aspidistras you plant weeds.

The potsherd is cracked, a faded aesthetic fragment,
the absurd has grown a beard and lives in a tent
with his collection of porcelain miniatures,
and draws caricatures of caricatures.
A computer computes the nth power of ten,
words split, ink dries in the pen when....