augury doggerel

Friday, August 22, 2003


A book I liked when I was young began, "Once upon a time there were Five Chinese Brothers and they all looked exactly alike." One could hold and hold his breath, and so could not be smothered. I think one had longs legs, and so could not be drowned. Maybe one could not be burned or bothered or something. I don't remember.

But one of the brothers could swallow the sea. He drank it all away, until his head was huge and the sea was gone and the secrets at the bottom were revealed. While this brother stood on the shore with a bursting face, a boy ran out on the exposed seabed to gather lost treasure. But the brother who could swallow the sea couldn't hold it forever, and when he spat it all back the boy was drowned. For this, the brother was condemned to die.

I'm both of them, the boy on the shore and the boy on the seabed.


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