". . . little shall I grace my cause

In speaking for myself. Yet, by your gracious patience,

I will a round unvarnish'd tale deliver . . ."

(William Shakespeare's Othello, I.iii.88-90)

Monday, May 14, 2012

"And do you think their conscience prickles? No, it tickles."

Caitlin and I are back to the Cameron Thompson book for literature. Last week and this it was poetry. I get away from reading poetry for long periods of time and then when I get back to it I wonder why I stayed away. There is just nothing like a great poem for awakening senses that have been numbed by a too-long stretch of existential days. This morning I spent about an hour sitting in the parking lot reading poetry while Caitlin was at geometry and came to the conclusion that I am not getting enough of sunshine, fresh air, or poetry these days! 

Here's one that I particularly appreciated. It's by Ogden Nash. Remember him? He wrote all those fun animal poems you enjoy reading to your children. Well, here's one for us grownups. It's from the "Truth" section of the book. The poem exudes Nash's characteristic whimsicality, but beneath the lighthearted tone is a cynical testament to the benefits of dissembling.     

"Golly, How Truth Will Out!"- Ogden Nash

How does a person get to be a capable liar? 
That is something that I respectfully inquiar, 
Because I don't believe a person will ever set the world on fire 
Unless they are a capable lire. 
Some wise men said that words were given to us to conceal our thoughts 
But if a person has nothing but truthful words why their thoughts haven't even the protection of a pair of panties or shoughts,
And a naked thought is ineffectual as well as improper, 
And hasn't a chance in the presence of a glib chinchilla-clad whopper. 
One of the greatest abilities a person can have, I guess, 
Is the ability to say Yes when they mean No and No when they mean Yes. 
Oh to be Machiavellian, oh to be unscrupulous, oh, to be glib! 
Oh to be ever prepared with a plausible fib! 
Because then a dinner engagement or a contract or a treaty is no longer a fetter, 
Because liars can just logically lie their way out of it if they don't like it or if one comes along that they like better; 
And do you think their conscience prickles? 
No, it tickles. 
And please believe that I mean every one of these lines as I am writing them 
Because once there was a small boy who was sent to the drugstore to buy some bitter stuff to put on his nails to keep him from biting them, 
And in his humiliation he tried to lie to the clerk 
And it didn't work, 
Because he said My mother sent me to buy some bitter stuff for a friend of mine's nails that bites them, and the clerk smiled wisely and said I wonder who that friend could be, 
And the small boy broke down and said Me, 
And it was me, or at least I was him, 
And all my subsequent attempts at subterfuge have been equally grim, 
And that is why I admire a suave prevarication because I prevaricate so awkwardly and gauchely, 
And that is why I can never amount to anything politically or socially.


Malkie72 said...

Fun poem! I enjoyed it. It reminds me a bit of me. I'm a terrible liar.. that is, terrible at lying.

Suzanne said...

and that Malkie72 comment was me. Hubby was still signed in. Oops!