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in plain air 151
A Puff of Smoke
a puff of smoke
When my old friend writes to me
Of the `stark fact that the mind
Appears to be infi nite
And to have nothing to do
With the scientifi c "law"
Of dispersion' -- I don't know,
I'll have to write in reply,
Maybe it is infi nite
As the world of numbers is,
His purlieu. Immortal, though?
Why, it's an activity,
And it stops. Smashing the skull
Ends it -- the anesthetist
Interrupts it, telling you
Mildly, `Let me see how wide
You can open your mouth, now,'
And the next thing is a fl ood
Of bright gray light, followed not
By immersion in darkness,
But a moment's consciousness
That the light's gone; and then
Not even darkness. Nothing.
What is this nothing? Nothing.
Where is this nothing?... Think how
When a reader fi nishes
His reading, as an event
Of his attention, it is
A memory -- a diff erent