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The Boiling Water Analysis



Author: Poetry of Kenneth Koch Type: Poetry Views: 198

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The NY Review of Books 1/16/03 Vol L #1A serious moment for the water iswhen it boils

And though one usually regards itmerely as a convenience

To have the boiling wateravailable for bath or table

Occasionally there is someone

around who understands

The importance of this momentfor the water-maybe a saint,

Maybe a poet, maybe a crazyman, or just someonetemporarily disturbed

With his mind "floating"in asense, away from his deepest

Personal concerns to more"unreal" things...A serious moment for the islandis when its trees

Begin to give it shade, andanother is when the oceanwashes

Big heavy things against its side.One walks around and looks atthe island

But not really at it, at what is onit, and one thinks,

It must be serious, even, to be thisisland, at all, here.

Since it is lying here exposed tothe whole sea.All its

Moments might be serious.It isserious, in such windy weather,to be a sail

Or an open window, or a featherflying in the street...Seriousness, how often I havethought of seriousness

And how little I have understoodit, except this: serious is urgent

And it has to do with change.Yousay to the water,

It's not necessary to boil now,and you turn it off.It stops

Fidgeting.And starts to cool.Youput your hand in it

And say, The water isn't seriousany more.It has the potential,

However-that urgency to giveoff bubbles, to

Change itself to steam.And thewind,

When it becomes part of ahurricane, blowing up thebeach

And the sand dunes can't keep itaway.

Fainting is one sign ofseriousness, crying is another.

Shuddering all over is anotherone.A serious moment for thetelephone is when it rings.

And a person answers, it isAngelica, or is it you.A serious moment for the fly iswhen its wings

Are moving, and a seriousmoment for the duck

Is when it swims, when it firsttouches water, then spreads

Its smile upon the water...A serious moment for the matchis when it burst into flame...Serious for me that I met you, andserious for you

That you met me, and that we donot know

If we will ever be close to anyoneagain.Serious the recognitionof the probability

That we will, although timestretches terribly inbetween...





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