By John Hollander
A trembling brown bird standing in the high grass turns out to be a blown
oakleaf after all. Was the leaf playing bird, or was it "just" the wind
playing with the leaf? Was my very noticing itself at play with
an irregular frail patch of brown in the cold April afternoon?
These questions that hang motionless in the now-stilled air: what of their
frailty, in the light of even the most fragile of problematic
substances like all these momentary playthings of recognition?
Questions that are asked of questions: no less weighty and lingeringly
dark than the riddles posed by any apparent bird or leaf or breath
of wind, instruments probing what we feel we know for some kind of truth.
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Excerpt from A DRAFT OF LIGHT. Copyright © 2008 by John Hollander. Excerpted by permission of Alfred A. Knopf, a division of Random House, Inc. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.