This is a tale with a kernel./ You'll have to use your own teeth to crack it."" Simic's metaphors challenge just rightly -- his poem-puzzles are crackable, solvable, freely extendable; they interpose and sometimes, developmentally, juxtapose pastoral and conversational images. An unpretentious, unthreatening fantasy-animism transmutes ""the grass was silence/ And the flowers words"" into ""I sat between the word obscure/ And the word gallows. . . ."" And from such gentle leaps come sharp surprises, tart but not jaded, or radiant but not ingenuous. Congenial.