The Wonderment of Taxonomy

by Cornelia Rohde

(Found poem)

10th C. classification of plants and animals from the celebrated Chinese encyclopedia, The Celestial Emporium of Benevolent Knowledge:

those that belong to the Emperor,
embalmed ones,
those that are trained,
suckling pigs,
mermaids,
fabulous ones,
stray dogs,
those that are included in this classification,
those that tremble as if they were mad,
innumerable ones,
those drawn with a very fine camel’s-hair brush,
others,
those that have just broken a flower vase,
those that resemble flies from a distance.

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