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The Boiling Water Analysis

Author: poem of Kenneth Koch Type: poem Views: 11

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A serious moment for the water is

when it boils

And though one usually regards it

merely as a convenience

To have the boiling water

available for bath or table

Occasionally there is someone

around who understands

The importance of this moment

for the water—maybe a saint,

Maybe a poet, maybe a crazy

man, or just someone

temporarily disturbed

With his mind "floating"in a

sense, away from his deepest

Personal concerns to more

"unreal" things...

A serious moment for the island

is when its trees

Begin to give it shade, and

another is when the ocean


Big heavy things against its side.

One walks around and looks at

the island

But not really at it, at what is on

it, and one thinks,

It must be serious, even, to be this

island, at all, here.

Since it is lying here exposed to

the whole sea.  All its

Moments might be serious.  It is

serious, in such windy weather,

to be a sail

Or an open window, or a feather

flying in the street...

Seriousness, how often I have

thought of seriousness

And how little I have understood

it, except this: serious is urgent

And it has to do with change.  You

say to the water,

It's not necessary to boil now,

and you turn it off.  It stops

Fidgeting.  And starts to cool.  You

put your hand in it

And say, The water isn't serious

any more.  It has the potential,

However—that urgency to give

off bubbles, to

Change itself to steam.  And the


When it becomes part of a

hurricane, blowing up the


And the sand dunes can't keep it


Fainting is one sign of

seriousness, crying is another.

Shuddering all over is another


A serious moment for the

telephone is when it rings.

And a person answers, it is

Angelica, or is it you.

A serious moment for the fly is

when its wings

Are moving, and a serious

moment for the duck

Is when it swims, when it first

touches water, then spreads

Its smile upon the water...

A serious moment for the match

is when it burst into flame...

Serious for me that I met you, and

serious for you

That you met me, and that we do

not know

If we will ever be close to anyone

again.  Serious the recognition

of the probability

That we will, although time

stretches terribly in


Anonymous submission.


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