There is a shadow round the tree;
It shelters seven cows and me.
The seven cows have fourteen eyes,
Which view me with a grave surmise.
Three legs, they think, would be too few;
how does this creature stand on two?

There are, or so I calculate,
Some thirty legs among us eight-
Say, three legs and three-quarters each.
The mathematics that they teach
Must be in some respects awry-
One leg and seven-eighths per eye?

I clutch with an uneasy hand
The average legs on which I stand,
And find them two, and find them whole,
which findings much relieve my soul,
the only one (so say the wise)
that lurks behind our sixteen eyes.

OCTOBER 25, 1958



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