The duck song wakes me, singing our canal
into existence, snipping bolts of dark
from the cloaks the waking duck-and-coot cabal
flew in the face of nighttime in the park.
Crows fly until the sun, touched, tips the earth
so light leaks in. Wood pigeons coo the grass.
A falcon scream creates a stream that’s worth
a trip, the other birds think, and they pass
my window in review in ones and twos.
Their songs connect canal and stream to lakes
where herons intone fish and note which choose
to dive or be the breakfast they will take.
I, also recreated by bird song,
salute the flocks and, singing, fly along.
It was Spring, a time that Grungy Dinah pined
for love. Spring sprang sap-hazardly. Dawns lengthened.
Eves shortened. Adams appled. Fauns were fined
when caught flagrante delicto. Their lusts strengthened
poor Grungy Dinah’s dreaming that her own fate
involved one couple’s coupling, wherein she
was the female actor (actress?), and the ‘he’
was whichever ‘who’ three gins proclaimed her mate.
Not ‘whom?’ she pondered. Days and fortnights passed.
The winds of grammar wound their winding sheets
around her nouns and pronouns. Sap was sassed
till Spring wound down in Gunga Din defeats.
Were I eighteen, I’d look up to John Searle.
I would scribble beer mats full of formulae,
imagining I understood his world.
With coasters scrawled with theorems, I would lie
abed for weeks while universes whirled
behind my tight-shut eyes. (I might still try.)
Mind, Language, and Society carouse
through my feverish brain which Searle asserts can’t house
my Me. He says Mind’s process, not eternal,
but something like digestion, caused by gas.
Oh beery one, Homunculus Internal,
if Searle is right, you don’t exist. Nor can you last
eternally. I thought you my husk’s kernel
but Searle says you are not. I’d fail his class.
Your counsel that I audit him is keen
advice I’d take, were I again eighteen.
Had I less age, and Searle his present stature,
I’d be too awed to bellyache and bore
on him for what he doesn’t say: re Catcher
in the Rye, the truths of blues, the mystic lore
that Yeats immortalised. Poe’s body snatcher.
But twenty years have passed, and fifty more.
A century if I’m honest, which I doubt.
Time goes elastic when My space runs out.