The summer holidays being here, consider Zeno taking his family on a trip. One of his kids asks ‘Are we nearly there?’ Suppose the answer is ‘No’, as it will be for most of their journey. Typically, the question is repeated a short time later. Since they will not have moved very far in that short time, how could they be nearly there? A bit further on from any place that was not nearly there would still not be nearly there. The Sorites paradox is that it follows logically that they will never be nearly there. But as Zeno knows, children are impossible.
Glassy plumes fly up, collapsing
back to a flatness that mirrors
nothing. A ponderous pause
and up springs a duckling, fluffy
but with butt bedraggled, sipping
duck-poo soup and snatching flies
from the bottom of the sky;
splurging with his siblings: golden spiderlings,
as busy as bees in the water-lilies. They emerge
from their submergings
like broadsides beside
a lardy male
mallard who evokes long-ships
with his draconian head as he
on lobstrous feet.
Flustered, he flaps his wings,
and peacock-blue rhombuses blink
and fling off oddly fluttering splodges
of soggy leaf-litter. Weary of malarkey
he fans out his butt like a pack of cards
and onto a flagstone flops. Wary of malady
he gingerly stretches out his white-collared neck
for sumptuous croutons, a little presumptuously.
Unhinging winds fringe maroon-fingered moon,
like a waiter with a supernatural soup-spoon;
a crater of rubble like a burst bubble
as a seat of tranquillity
for a duck quacking
a soporific melody
of sounds pacific: "Talk
about a duck
floating on a lake,
looking like a wooden decoy does;
talk about a drake ducking wooden ducks,
making all the ducklings he can make."
I am old; in 2003, at the age of 40, I was published in the British Journal for the Philosophy of Science, but since then I've done little. Blogging since 2007, my main involvement was via the Philosophers' Carnival, which moved to Facebook.