There are Questions so terrible they should never be asked. Each of us decides for ourselves what they are. There are Questions so sublime no answer does them justice. They go unasked.

A failed poem is an answer. A successful poem is a Question, one that would rather go unanswered. The only proper answer to a poem is another Question.

The story of Questions has little to do with the story of answers. Consider the courtroom, a trial. The conversation is Question answer, Question answer. Lawyers avoid asking Questions that they don’t already know the answer. Poets don’t have this luxury. The legalities of poems require answers. That’s how poems beget poems.

The similarities between doors and Questions is startling. Openings. What passes through has nothing to do with this. It never did. Though it has much to do with poetry.

Poetry shares room in the Art of Questions with science, one of the few, very few, places that demands answers.

Pablo Neruda’s Book of Question asked every important Question. I suspect there still might be a few that need to be asked. That’s what I write about. I’m searching.

Over the course of a lifetime each of us is asked roughly 187,326 Questions. Half go unanswered. Of those answered, 63% of the answers are wrong; another 9% will be out-and-out lies. Now that you know this will continue asking?

Since undertaking Questions I attempted to compile a list of each one that I’ve asked throughout my life. Most that began with raising my hand in a classroom were dismissed. Questions asked more than once, “can you starch the shirt and still have it ready this evening?” and “… do you love me?” were only counted once. Tempting as it was, “do I have a brain tumor?” was also only counted once*. The total was 91,876§ Questions. I then went back over the list, the ones I didn’t need to know the answer to were marked with a yellow highlighter. A red highlighter was used for Questions for which I really didn’t want an answer. Question asked to erase a silence were marked in green. 8,337 Questions remained.

*The implication of this question was staggering, for a few weeks I counted it as three questions. After putting some distance between me and the emotions involved I realized that there is not much difference between this question and “… are you pregnant?” Hindsight is an effective editor.
§ Questions asked in this book are not included in the total.