Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Unknowable Things, Some of Them Numbers

How many trees make a city?
How many oil wells pour out the plastic?
How many mines disgorge the steel?
How many phone calls, with how many listeners?
Venice was built on an island of pilings,
Steadily sinking.
How many mothers have peopled it?
How many men worked how many hours
Building it?
How many teachers taught in it?
How many foreigners knew it?
Where are the graves of the dead
Who defended it?
Where are the seasons that blessed it?
Only the stars its permanent ceiling,
And the sun and the moon roaming
To number its days and its nights.

John Sevcik