“We are going to have to deal with propositions which are simultaneously both true and false; my corollary is that mutually contrary propositions may be equally true.”

—Philip K. Dick, Exegesis

“ My whole frame quivered with joy, surprise, and the sensation of the unforeseen. Like a living soul, like an incarnation of Nature, the song entered my prison-house. Each tone folded its wings, and laid itself, like a caressing bird, upon my heart. It bathed me like a sea; inwrapt me like an odorous vapour; entered my soul like a long draught of clear spring-water; shone upon me like essential sunlight; soothed me like a mother’s voice and hand.

-George MacDonald


The swan sings. From deep in the marshes,

its voice chimes sharp and clear

like the striking of copper cymbals.

This is the endless polar darkness.

Great mountains of eternal frost

lean against the ice plates of the ocean.

The swan sings; and slowly the sky

fades into the darkness and tints itself yellow.

A green light rises from star to star.

The swan’s metal voice rings like a harp

caressed here and there; already the green

northern lights glaze the icy mountain peaks.

And in the deepening night,

an immense iridescent arc grows

into huge ladders that spread open the aurora.

The green and vermillion glow catches fire,

shoots rays, pulsates, subsides, rises again,

exploding, all in utter silence.

With a sound like the bell’s final

angelus chime, the swan shakes its wings:

the wings open, and lift, enormous,

pure white, into the boreal night.

-Giovanni Pascoli

In the Fog


I stared into the valley: it was gone—

wholly submerged! A vast flat sea remained,

gray, with no waves, no beaches; all was one.

And here and there I noticed, when I strained,

the alien clamoring of small, wild voices:

birds that had lost their way in that vain land.

And high above, the skeletons of beeches,

as if suspended, and the reveries

of ruins and of the hermit’s hidden reaches.

And a dog yelped and yelped, as if in fear,

I knew not where nor why. Perhaps he heard

strange footsteps, neither far away nor near—

echoing footsteps, neither slow nor quick,

alternating, eternal. Down I stared,

but I saw nothing, no one, looking back.

The reveries of ruins asked: “Will no

one come?” The skeletons of trees inquired:

“And who are you, forever on the go?”

I may have seen a shadow then, an errant

shadow, bearing a bundle on its head.

I saw—and no more saw, in the same instant.

All I could hear were the uneasy screeches

of the lost birds, the yelping of the stray,

and, on that sea that lacked both waves and beaches,

the footsteps, neither near nor far away.

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