Making Rope, N. Roth, 1911

Getting Philosophical

Why should something exist,
philosophers ask, rather than nothing?
I ask, why should philosophers exist
rather than everything?
I'm not sure anything, something,
everything or nothing does exist.
I could say, "I think therefore
at least I am," but do I?
Cat-scratch of February wind,
dog-slobber of July air,
thunder and the fainting of lights,
mysterious creaks and knocks and sirens rushing by
when I try to turn off my brain and get some sleep--
are these my thoughts? If not,
then how are those other things that float to me
before I know to see them, how are those things thoughts,
and how mine? And now that I think of it,
what am I? A place where drifting notions
get tangled, the dead tree in the lake
that gathers fishing lines?
Man, I need a drink. Or five. And dinner.
I know who to call, and where we can go.
We'll say things that matter
about things that don't.
And if neither one of us exists,
we'll do that together for awhile.
Now these are thoughts
worth being had by.

-- Sturgis Giteau

Image info: illustration by N. Roth for the book The Strange Little Girl: A Story for Children by V.M., 1911.