Umbrella
A Journal of poetry and kindred prose


Henry Quince  

has been an academic, jazz pianist, editor, copywriter, and voiceover man. He’s moved around, but now lives in Australia, near Brisbane. He’s had the odd poem or two published in The Susquehanna Quarterly, Modern Haiku, and Folly.  Visit his Website.


--Back to Poetry Contents--

Anthropic Principle

Why am I who I am? What God-thrown dice
decreed that I, this I, should live life here,
in just this shell of flesh, this space-time slice?
What huge unlikelihood has put me where
I am?— this planet, era, parentage
and body, from the billion could-have-beens;
this self-lit corner of the cosmic stage
where no one knows who sets or moves the scenes.

Why are you you? What still remoter chance
appointed your own far-fetched dice-cast I
to such precarious coincidence
with mine? So many ways you could pass by,
yet here you are: you meet—and do not miss—
of all imaginable poems, this.

 

Mnemosyne

     Today I remember how, humming a tune,
murmuring, bright-eyed, stories drawn from your stock of treasures,
           you and your ghostly measures
           smiled on an afternoon.

     No trick, no entreaty moves the Helicon spring
to flow. Unless your quicksilver whim shall bid it bubble,
           no musings, no long-thought trouble,
           no mountain, can make me sing.

     Yet sometimes your dark twin visits, tapping the glass
of consciousness in a dream, saying she’s come to remind me
           of matters I hoped were behind me.
           When will she let them pass?

 

Tastes

The tongue knows only four:
Sweet, Salt, Sour,
and Bitter. Every taste,
discounting smell, is based
on the brain’s blending of these.

The first is prompt to please:
infants take to Sweet
right from the mother’s teat.
Salt gains in appeal
with every snack or meal,
and Sour follows suit
with pickles and acid fruit.

But ah, the Bitter taste —
wormwood, or coffee laced
with rum from sorrow’s urn —
is the last taste we learn.