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Laura Riding

(January 16, 1901 – September 2, 1991 / New York City)

The Quids


The little quids, the million quids,
The everywhere, everything, always quids,
The atoms of the Monoton—
Each turned three essences where it stood
And ground a gisty dust from its neighbors' edges
Until a powdery thoughtfall stormed in and out,
The cerebration of a slippery quid enterprise.
Each quid stirred.
The united quids
Waved through a sinuous decision.

The quids, that had never done anything before
But be, be, be, be, be,
The quids resolved to predicate
And dissipate in a little grammar.
Oh, the Monoton didn't care,
For whatever they did—
The Monoton's contributing quids—
The Monoton would always remain the same.

A quid here and there gyrated in place-position,
While many essential quids turned inside-out
For the fun of it
And a few refused to be anything but
Simple, unpredicated copulatives.
Little by little, this commotion of quids,
By threes, by tens, by casual millions,
Squirming within the state of things—
The metaphysical acrobats,
The naked, immaterial quids—
Turned inside on themselves
And came out dressed,
Each similar quid of the inward same,
Each similar quid dressed in a different way—
The quid's idea of a holiday.

The quids could never tell what was happening.
But the Monoton felt itself differently the same
In its different parts.
The silly quids upon their rambling exercise
Never knew, could never tell
What their pleasure was about,
What their carnival was like,
Being in, being in, being always in
Where they never could get out
Of the everywhere, everything, always in,
To derive themselves from the Monoton.

But I know, with a quid inside of me,
But I know what a quid's disguise is like,
Being one myself,
The gymnastic device
That a quid puts on for exercise.

And so should the trees,
And so should the worms,
And so should you,
And all the other predicates,
And all the other accessories
Of the quid's masquerade.

Submitted: Monday, January 13, 2003

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  • John Ellis (6/30/2014 3:14:00 PM)

    It restates the obvious (atomic theory) while cadging from Kant. Or should that be Cant? (Report) Reply

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