David Lehman "Twenty Questions"
Why did the moth fly into the flame? Was it for the same reason
That Achilles died young? Who gets more fun out of sex,
The man or the woman? (Be sure to explain how you can tell.)
Which is more real to you, heaven or hell?
Why do sinners’ ways prosper? What causes the death of love—
The love of death? Did Adam and Eve have a choice?
Did the Virgin Mary? What are we afraid of, anyway?
Even agnostics have the right to say “thank god,” don’t they?
Looking at these dancing atoms, shall I say I saw a ring
Of pure and endless light? Or did I dream the whole thing?
Whom shall I say is calling? Are you in if it’s your wife?
Are you willing to relocate? Do you like your life?
What makes this night different from all other nights?
Would you say it’s your fate to be always,
Without exception, five minutes late? If you arrived
At 9:10, would the ceremony have started at 9:05
Though it had been scheduled for 9:15? As you walk down
The aisle, and the others rivet their attention to you,
Do you ask yourself what you’re going to do,
As though it mattered, as if you knew?
This poem is bringing a lot of questions to the table. These questions really have no answer, and that is the reason for this poem. Many people ask these questions, and should know that there is no answer, but it seems as though rhetorical questions are asked all of the time. I feel as though this is human nature to question everything, and to try and find out why things work the way they do. To any of the questions posed in this poem, there is no right or wrong answer. The reason why I picked this poem is because I like to question everything. It is a good and bad thing at times, but I understand that this is natural. These questions can have answers if you create them, but who is to say that you are right or wrong? I believe that on the other side of this is playing “devil’s advocate”. To play both sides would be very important in this poem.