Lesson in Natural History

The ripples spread through the silent pool;
Don’t they, Dorothy? Don’t they, John?
But where do the ripples come from, teacher,
Who throws the stone? Where does it come from?
What becomes of the stone? Please, teacher!
Is there another stone?
The stone and the circle and the centre and the silence
Always come alone, arc silent
And central and round as a stone.
The centre of the circle is where we begin;
Isn’t it, Nathaniel? Isn’t it, Jane?
But where does the circle spread to, teacher,
Where do we end? Where do we spread to?
What, shore do we attain? Please, teacher!
Does the centre come again?
The stone and the circle and the centre and the silence
Always come again, are silent
And central and round as a stone.
The silence and the centre are where we end;
Don’t we, Frederick? Don’t we, May?
But who makes the silence, the centre, teacher?
Which is the silence, which the centre
When the ripples smooth away? Please, teacher!
Does the silence come to stay?
The stone and the circle and the centre and the silence
Always come to stay, are silent
And central and round as a stone.
THEODORE SPENCER