Thankful Thursday: Unanswerables


When I see the sea once more
will the sea have seen or not seen me?

Why do the waves ask me
the same questions I ask them?

And why do they strike the rock
with so much wasted passion?

Don't they get tired of repeating
their declaration to the sand?

- from The Book of Questions by Pablo Neruda

The Book of Questions — a series of 320 questions in 74 poems by Pablo Neruda — has no answers. Instead, these poems nudge us to experience inquiry, not for rational, practical answers but for the sensation of wonder and what-if?

"We may ask our own unanswerable questions, and might come to find reflected in ourselves the world beyond might and sight," explains William O'Daly in the introduction to the poems he translated. "Neruda believed the inner quest was never-ending, that on some level what we learned was forgotten, so that we might learn it again."

On Thankful Thursday, I am thankful for questions that require no answers. For a change, I am content to let the queries dangle unknown, impossible, infinite.