In the big book of poetry for children that lived on our bookshelf for years I often returned to a short and rather silly poem by Ogden Nash. I liked the idea that you could make a poem in two lines and that it could be both clever and naughty. As I read it, the author, in questioning nature, challenged a central tenet of my belief system: that nature might be mysterious but there is always a reason for its systematic organization and workings. This is the poem:
God in his wisdom made the fly
And then forgot to tell us why.
Today, I like this poem by Nash better – he is still stumped by nature’s manifestation, but puts himself in the picture.
Tell me, O Octopus, I begs
Is those things arms, or is they legs?
I marvel at thee, Octopus;
If I were thou, I’d call me Us.