Thursday, November 5, 2015

The Unseeable Animal

     A long time ago Wendell Berry wrote a poem, "To The Unseeable Animal,"  which he introduces by quoting his daughter who, I am sure, inspired the poem that followed:

     My daughter:  "I hope there's an animal
          somewhere that nobody has ever seen.
          And I hope nobody ever sees it."

     I confess it as a weakness, that it occurred to me that this poses an interesting puzzle to a quantum theoretician interested in the riddle of Schroedinger's Cat.  It further occurs to me that that puzzle might contain, or be, its own solution.  Ah, physics; ah, mathematics; ah, logic -- how readily and how eagerly you intrude.  Quiet yourselves.

     Set all that aside:  Wendell writes the poem to the unseeable animal, and ends it thus:

That we do not know you
is your perfection
and our hope.  The darkness
keeps us near you.



The full poem is on p. 118 of Farming: A Hand Book, by Wendell Berry.

1 comment:

  1. Wendell often speaks against the "all-explainers" -- in science, religion, politics, education, farming, and treats the word "ignorance" as two-edged sword, dangerous when (ironically) when ignored. The Mad Farmer tells us in "Liberation Front" --

    Praise ignorance, for what man
    has not encountered he has not destroyed.

    Ask the questions that have no answers.