Ducks & Rabbits

in the stream [1]
look, the duck-rabbits swim between.
The Mill Race
at Granta Place
tosses them from form to form,
dissolving bodies in the spume.
Given A and see [2]
find be [3]
(look at you, don’t look at me) [4]
Given B, see A and C.
that’s what metaphor [5]
is for.
Date and place
in the expression of a face [6]
provide the frame
for an instinct to rename, [7]
to try to hold apart
Gestalt and Art.
[1] Of consciousness
[2] The expression of a change of aspect is the expression of a new perception.
[3] And at the same time of the perception’s being unchanged.
[4] Do not ask yourself “How does it work with me?” Ask “What do I know about someone else?”
[5] Here it is useful to introduce the idea of a picture-object.
[6] A child can talk to picture-men or picture-animals. It can treat them as it treats dolls.
[7] Hence the flashing of an aspect on us seems half visual experience, half thought.

Veronica Forrest-Thomson, "Ducks & Rabbits" from Collected Poems and Translations. Copyright © 1971 by Veronica Forrest-Thomson.  Reprinted by permission of Allardyce, Barnett, Publishers.
Source: Collected Poems (Shearsman Books, 2008)
More Poems by Veronica Forrest-Thomson