The Great Physicist Tucks In His Children, 1944
Here, then, is a great mystery. For you who also love the little prince, and for me, nothing in the universe can be the same if somewhere, we do not know where, a sheep that we never saw has—yes or no?—eaten a rose …
Look up at the sky. Ask yourselves: is it yes or no? Has the sheep eaten the flower? And you will see how everything changes …
Antoine de Saint Exupéry, The Little Prince
whether or not to stop reading. They seem asleep
enough. But one is wary
testing the rhythms of pauses, the pair creation
secure in their beds. I am wary.
The disruption in the beginnings of silence unbridgeable.
The first starts in with her insistence no rose
has been eaten, no sheep would do that, no planet
would allow that. Look at us here, the stars hung like chimes around us.
Her twin brother suddenly seized counterpoints,
objects, hearing nothing. What chimes.
Look at them again, he says to her, your stars little cracks
in a giant sheet of ice. What rose?
They do look; this is just not a brother trying to frighten a sister.
We see the thing—a sheep that we have never seen—yes or no?—
The world is full
of two possibilities.
I appreciate this. As they must. They don’t discuss further,
the two possibilities suspended between them, and capable
of nothing more. He yawns. The draft pushes the mobile of historical airplanes
out of sight above him. She thinks to say something else,
which makes her eyes close. They have changed nothing.
Their nighttime ritual, searching their sheep.
Feeling thinking measure and be measured.
Two chimes lowly ring of infinite chimes.
Somehow, something is different.
Observation changes the object. The object. Yes. No. That is not
what is changing.