Guest poem submitted by Aseem Kaul:
(Poem #1880) I remember to have wept with a sense of the unnecessary
I remember to have wept with a sense of the unnecessary. 'Do you think me so ungenerous that I need to be deceived about this? Do you think me such a fool that these tactics will deceive me?' Now, on the contrary, I shall speak with reverence of liars. What you must save for is the Golden Bowl, Cast anthropoid, beaten to delicacy; One depends on that, though hollow, upon industrialism, Upon milkwhite metal, upon furnaces all night. Having got the thing one may fill it when required, at leisure, From any river, from the common tap; Those cloud-pipes being frozen, with marine tears; And there will always be flowers to stick into it in the springtime. Lies would be more serious if one could lie about the matter in hand; But it is an impertinence to think oneself so penetrating. What people tell you by lies is how they would deal with this if it was true, What they would like to make you think about this, The fact that they think this worth repeating or inventing, Or the fact that they will endeavour to make this true, And, whether the external circumstances are favourable to them or not, These are important truths, and you have been told them. People who feel that lies make life intolerable, That it is madness to attempt living, since people are liars, Are like people who look at the handbook before the picture, Are like people who wish the words of a poem to have a single meaning, Are unable to feel safe unless they are irrelevantly informed. Lies are the discipline of knowing that people are not you. It is licentious not to lie to a friend. The belief in truth leads to many untrue beliefs. It leads to the belief that a series of earnest statements make a poem. If one could speak the whole truth about lies one would be contradicting oneself. Do you think me so ungenerous that I need to be deceived about this? Do you think me such a fool that these tactics will deceive me?
Such a delightful, roguish poem this. Both hilariously tongue in cheek and fiendishly logical. I love the sly 'poetry' digs ("It leads to the belief that a series of earnest statements make a poem") and some of the lines are spectacular by themselves ("Lies are the discipline of knowing that people are not you."). But I also love the central argument - that you can infer much from the nature and direction of deception (game theory anyone?) and that there is little purpose to learning a bunch of meaningless facts, just to be well-informed ("unable to feel safe unless they are irrelevantly informed"). Aseem.