Friday, November 20, 2009

Andrei Codrescu: When

By Andrei Codrescu

Once upon a time when there was no time,
when no one had any need for time because there was plenty of it,
when time was an idea whose time hadn't come,
when the pear tree produced peaches or toy trucks,
when fleas jumped into the sky wearing very heavy shoes,
when everybody ate what they cooked and scientists were always sick
because they had to eat bombs,
when dogs and cats were on the best of terms
and men and women never fought pitched battles
under the pitched tent, when children never took baths because they were always swimming,
there lived a very old storyteller
in a village high in the mountains
who told a very long story
day and night.
No one knew when he had begun telling this story
because he was always telling it
and you could drop by his house and listen to some of it
and then come back when you were old yourself
and listen to some more of it.
When I heard him the story hadn't even begun because he was
still busy telling when the story began.
Maybe, one day, we should drop in on him and listen some more,
maybe he has begun.
We will, okay, one day, when we have the time.

Posted with permission from Mr. Codrescu. This poem is in Wonders: Writings and Drawings for the Child in Us All, edited by Jonathan Cott and Mary Gimbel, 1980.

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