Now we are ready to look at something pretty special.
It is a duck riding the ocean a hundred feet beyond the surf,
And he cuddles in the swells.
There is a big heaving in the Atlantic.
And he is part of it.
He can rest while the Atlantic heaves, because he rests in the Atlantic.
And what does he do, I ask you?
He sits down in it.
He reposes in the immediate as if it were infinity -- which it is.
That is religion, and the duck has it.
I like the little duck.
He doesn't know much.
But he has religion.
Poem by Donald C. Babcock
Donald Babcock published this poem in the New Yorker magazine in 1947. He was a professor of philosophy at the University of New Hampshire (the only professor of philosophy at that school). The little duck doesn't know much, but it's alive to the world around it. This poem raises these questions for me:
1. What does it mean to be a part of this vast ocean, not separate from it? The duck could fly away, but would it still be a part of the ocean?
2. How could the immediate also be infinity?