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The Long Brief Moment



Sophia asked me if I’d write the alumni column on a topic of my choosing. Yes, because no is limiting. Shortly after this I realized that it was necessary I write it in rhyme, because I have a condition of the nerves wherein the prospect of prose in news publications sometimes scares me. I have explored potential causes of this, but, as is to be expected with medical diagnoses, the Cause is hard to trace. To save you from having to analyze the Why of my writing this so you can get on to the What, I will tell you this: I wrote it because I did, and then decided it would be a piece on art for art’s sake and play for play’s, just as I told Sophia when I sent it to her.

It may be that something profound is hiding inside all these words. Likely as not it’s somewhere in the golden ocean (see below), which is funny because that tells you as little as it does much! But also there may be nothing hiding there. I would say that’s profound in its own way, but profundity is probably in the eye of the beholder, and given that I don’t know the condition of your eyes, I can’t make any promises. Or rather, I won’t. And now, for your reading pleasure:

The Long Brief Moment

Also known as:

The Third Movement of the Fifth Meditation, of which parts one, two and the rest either are missing or stopped moving

I often struggle to simply say

Unless I say in a rhyming way

And even then it’s not for sure

A remedy but not a cure!

 

Like many things, in fact, that sounds

What once was up has turned to down

And heavens may I never try

To figure out the reason why

 

I sought to do that once before

Which left me feeling rather sore

And that in turn was only good

For painful walking in the Wood

 

Where, I’ll note, the wizard was

Doing things a wizard does

I would’ve loved to stop and chat

But then I saw his ugly hat

 

If ever a wizard there was were I

An ugly hat would never fly

For what are we if anything

We’re products of our fashioning

 

I need no wiz to say as much

So off I went into the Brush

Where, I’ll note, the robin flew

Though strange enough, his breast was blue

 

Before a thought my mind could think

I asked him “where’s your reddy pink?”

And holy cow what had I done—

So wholly rude— I had to run!

 

So never did I ever hear

The why behind the robin’s wear

But let us all remember true

I dodge the Why as dodgers do

 

Which by the way has kept me fit:

Forever do I run from it

For everywhere I aim to go

The Why comes in to stop my flow

 

Then far away from robin’s breast

I climbed a hill and reached the crest

Where naturally I did look down

And wondered Why I saw no ground

 

As you know this would not do

I turned away and ran anew

For though it might be somewhat curious

I feared a phantom, cruel and spurious

 

At last I found the golden ocean

With rolling swells of grand emotion

And for a moment long and brief

It let me lounge in sweet relief

 

Where silence made its roaring sounds

And all the missing things were found,

Were put into their rightful place

Just this side of time and space

 

But lo, I tell you, hold me, please!

The Why came surfing in to me!

She made me meet her face to face

She said to me “give up the race!”

 

For I am mere a part of you

I play my part as parts will do.

Be my friend and I’ll be nice

For otherwise I’m cold as ice

Yes otherwise I taunt and tease

And kick you squarely in the knees

I make you fall and make you blind

If to me you are unkind

 

There you have it, that’s the day

I looked at Why a different way

She takes me to the vast unknown

But treats me to their ice cream cones

She leads down dark and dangerous paths

Then guides me through the aftermath

 

So now I think it’s quite a thrill

To follow Why where she may will

For what am I if nothing else

I am my only wondering self

Laura LaPlante is a researcher, writer, and Instagram cartoonist. She lives in Portland, OR with her husband, Nick, and son, Wyatt.

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