Eugene Ostashevsky

The Premises of Grass

The Laughing Philosopher has entered
the Witless Relocation Program

Outside his window there’s a rooster
that looks like a toaster

In the field there’s a cow
on whose rump sits a crow

The crow snaps its wings, caws erratically
but the cow only smiles enigmatically

The Laughing Philosopher thinks,
Ah Nature

nonexistent daughter
of the rhetoric of cognition

We cannot reach you
But there are your representatives

speechless, the animals
conscious machines

of self-replicating nucleic acids
What is life Nature

How does it appear
by accident

How does it stand
on its own four feet

What does it see
out of the moist convexity of its eye



"The Premises of Grass" first appeared in Boston Review, 30:2 (April-May 2005); and Walt Whitman Hom(m)age, Eric Athenot and Olivier Brossard, eds. (New York: Turtle Point; Paris: Joca seria, 2005).