Like a Turtle*

When the seeker asked,
“What holds up the world?”
the seer said, “Seven elephants.”
“What holds up the elephants?”
“A large turtle.”
“What holds up the turtle?”
“A larger turtle.”
“What holds….”
“Stop! It’s just turtles
all the way down.”
“Is there no plinth —
a base so large and steady
that there is no need
for anything beneath?”
“Even plinths have to rest on something.
Turtles. It’s turtles all the way down.”
And that set the seeker’s head spinning
round and round and round
and then he, dizzy as a drunk, said,
“I think I’m onto something,”
to which the seer said,
“Of course, you are — turtles.”
And with that, the seeker stopped
seeking and climbed back down
the mountain, shaking his head
in bewilderment,
all the way down,
like a turtle.


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