Saturday, January 15, 2011

"Ode to Indeterminacy"

[A wonderful, rollicking poem today from my good friend Jonah Winter.  For more about Mr Winter, see the blurb following the poem!]

Ode to Indeterminacy

There was a thing.
It existed.
Persons also existed
in relation to the thing.

other persons existed
in relation to the persons
connected in some way,
as yet undisclosed,
to the first thing.

Had there been a second thing,
then one would have been correct
in referring to the thing
as having been first.
Fortunately, or unfortunately,

this was not the case,
or at least,
it was not clear
whether or not it was
or was not the case.

one could not ascertain
the whereabouts
of a potentially large group of things
tumbling through a space

about which
little could be said.
To say something
would have been

And yet,
to not say anything
could have, feasibly,
been interpreted, in theory,
as unduly cautious, perhaps…

Jonah Winter
© 2010-2011

Jonah Winter’s poetry has been widely published.  In addition to his poems appearing in a number of magazines & in chapbooks, he has also published Maine & Amnesia; the latter book won the 2003 Field Poetry Prize.  Jonah has also published 20 children’s books on  subjects ranging from Roberto Clemente to Hildegard Von Bingen.  You can check out his Writers Talk
interview on Robert Frost’s Banjo here.


  1. I couldn't possibly leave a comment - or could I? To do so might be considered presumptious. Not to do so might feasibly be interpreted as showing a lack of appreciation... :)

    Cleverly undermines our prediliction for describing things - and then thoughtlessly thinking we know them.

    It's very "of our times", in a good way. It has very modern spiritual side to it - in the way, say, Wordsworth's pantheism probably did in the days when he was writing.

  2. Hi Dominic: Not presumptious at all! I think all the many guests here on RFBanjo like to see comments on their work, & I'm always a bit disappointed when good folks don't get many comments. But so it goes. So thanks! & as far as Wordsworth goes--I know Jonah is a fan!

  3. Dear Jonah-
    your poems often leave me speechless with a delightfully hysterical edge of delight. The sense of an unspoken world made visible. Also I love the way the poem seems to be actually happening as I read it - this aspect of performance in your poetry is something I've thought about very often since the 80s - recognizing, over the years, how much I learned from you about this - thanks for posting today on RFB!

  4. I laughed reading this because in certain ways it reminded me of academic writing, and academics' abstractions about the relations between people and things (only this was more entertaining to read).


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