Poetry Daily: http://www.poems.com/

Papyrus Fragment Egerton 2

A little crowd, and the question came from him walking:
he spoke of a thing shut within its place ...
set there below invisibly ... its heaviness
past measuring ...

like Ives's Unanswered Question, all a-hang,
haze and mass of anti-matter, or of anti-question.

For the record says they were puzzled.
And that his next act was to stand on Jordan bank
extending his right hand, filling it,
sower to the river.

The verb for what happened next has gone downstream.
Before them, though, it became present and put forth
oodles of fruit
whether figs, oranges, or olives
a gap now hides, and whether
the sudden orchard rooted, trunks browing water,
or bobbed and stilted away. But their joy,
that is recorded.

A question had gone unanswered. Or else that answered it,
everything enormous met with the lightest touch,
non sequitur.

Indeed it does not follow:
to cloud, swimming unfloored depth
apeiron the root of rebels.

Or it does, though as an iron check to explosion
sensing what pins one gazeless region to the other.

If it all floated away they must have followed
clamoring: a Winter's Tale, the statue swaying, breathing.
Sower. River. Fruit. And under them,
the ponder press of the enclosed thing, of the enciphered
megaton seed.

John Peck

The University of Chicago Press

To view this poem online, visit the Poetry Daily archive at http://www.poems.com/archive.php
View a large-print version of this poem