A Poetic Society

The wind is blowing, blowing over the grass.
It shakes the willow catkins; the leaves shine silver.
Where are you going, wind? Far, far away
Over the hills, over the edge of the world.
Take me with you, wind, high over the sky.
I will go with you, I will be rabbit-of-the-wind.

–Richard Adams, Watership Down

I’m rereading one of my favorite books, Watership Down, in which a group of rabbits travel a great distance to found a new society. In the middle, they encounter a society full of strangely sad, yet remarkably well-fed, rabbits: and they encounter art for the first time. The melancholy poem above is the first poem the heroes have ever heard, and it both mystifies and unsettles them. As, perhaps, any good poem should.

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