THE CARDINALITY OF CANTOR'S SET

Friday, October 17, 2008
A few of us, being left more time to sort
The verbiage, thought we'd find "wisdom," for sure, —
Books in the old man's library, lake house
Still standing, despite earthquake and wildfire
Consuming so much from so many years.
So one stumbles around, looking for verbs.

(The verb in Spanish would be evitar,
As in Tu sabes, quiero evitar…)

Though end-of-summer loopiness pervades
The dry air, hinting lavender, —a tinge
Of leafy close-to-happiness remains
To squander, hours of freedom to bestow
After the passing of the private pain
The flesh is heir to.
One might reel stuff in,
Appreciate the meanings, toss it back,
And hope it doesn't work its way back home
Somehow, to cloud significance the mind
Assigned to aspects of reality
Already dealt with. Firmly. I insist
We stipulate migrating humpback whales
Be counted at least once, and in a space—
"Virtual" space—of our own making, so
The doubters and deceivers, on a whim,
While being besieged by this beleaguered blue
Bounding our earthly spaciousness, let go
Of pointing out the pointlessness of time
Well spent on Heidegger's first question: Why
Is there something, rather than nothing? No,

The sun may be taking the decade off,
Cutting back on his spots, and girls may bathe
Blithely in his last rays, and children swim
Against the current of the what's-to-be…

I've half a mind to let the whole bunch go.
The sea turtles, I mean. Also the sea
Cucumbers, other vegetables the sea
Deposits on our shore, as though our faith
Were somehow limited. If you must know:
It's like, you take the middle of the three
Thirds of a line segment (you have to leave
The endpoints on the page) but endlessly
Repeating the same taking/leaving, you

Are left with just this "dust of points," somehow
Still infinite, its cardinality—
Roughly, the "size" of its "infinity"—
The same as what you started with. Just so,
Your attitude is generous and calm.

After the moon moved on, we walked a bit
Down to the garden, cosmos of starlight
Or light dusting of stars, where the old man
Had buried secrets for the grandchildren.
Long since invisible, the ghosts of these
Still haunt the place, at least if you believe
In secrets, keeping them. Down by the creek,
Watery voices, the first light of dawn.




X:11:2008

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