The poet decides to keep a notebook by his bedside. One night he is vouchsafed a vision of the very heart of things. Determined not to forget this earth-shattering revelation, he reaches for his notebook and writes it down. In the morning he reads: piston rings need vitamins. He is consoled by the reflection that at the very least he has the first line of a poem.

Piston rings need vitamins
and cuckoo clocks need soap.
Aeroplanes need counterpanes
and diesel trains need rope.

Crested newts need pinstripe suits
and manatees need rice.
Eider ducks need size-four cups
and giant clams need spice.

So rarely do our night-time needs
accord with what our daytime heeds.

Clark Nida