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I was giving a lecture
to the "Friends of Cacania"
on the subject "Is Life Likely?"
when I remembered I
was totally agnostic,
love and hate in equal parts and the outcome
unsure, depending on the moment.
Then I decided five minutes
were enough--
two and a half for the thesis
two and a half for the antithesis
this was the only homage possible
for a man without qualities.
I spoke exactly thirty-five sconds.
And when I said
that yes and no were look alikes
shouts and whispers interrupted my talk
and I awoke. It was the most laconic dream
of my life, maybe the only one not devoid
of "quality."

(Eugenio Montale, Altri Versi,
translated by Jonathan Galassi,
from "The Collected Poems (1920-1954)"
published by Farrar Straus Giroux)