I know that this is not the end, she said.
I am not at all inclined to give thanks.
At every juncture in Nineveh's past
There never came cusps so sharply defined
You might decide a course without advice,
Without ways to judge which way was best.
You saw many futures contend for choice,
Each one equal in evident merit,
Each a beauty queen who also has tricks
Designed to give herself some distinction,
How she plays harp with grace and sings too,
How she juggles rolling pins, two at once,
How she sucks sincerely a judge's tongue
While he's easing off her bathing suit.
It's so hard to choose at times like these,
And so ancients devised the tarot deck
To gain insider access to heaven
And catch glimpse of what fate had in store.
This was the Oracle, traditional style,
A way to shuffle and deal out the cards
That centuries of practice had made perfect.
Perfect, that is, except when clearly wrong.
Tarot, I've heard, is just a game of chance.
You see it played on casino tables
And autodealt inside the slot machines.
The house takes its percent and others lose.
Without a random background, Marguerite,
You'll never find events that buck the trend.
The problem, though, you often get with cards
Is that outstanding hands that thrill a heart
May come once a decade, even less.
Until then you watch others take pots,
Watch others celebrate good luck
And go wild with joy, a wild made wilder
By how tamely celebration is shared
By those many who lost so one could win.
That's why we tried other methods awhile,
To get better yield, more frequent hits,
More signs per click to stream down from God.
A number of novel approaches were tried
And found to fall somewhat short of hopes.
The most recent of these was the attempt
To seat at typewriters a troop of apes
And let them just randomly poke the keys,
A concept Quintus came across once
Within some waiting room magazine.
For three reasons this was judged a failure.
Why tell of failures? asked Marguerite.
And why rehearse the reasons why they failed?
We'd get done with this in time for lunch
If some were condensed, others simply dropped.
If it's lyric verse or haiku you like,
Go find yourself a dying Zen monk
Or some equally short attention span,
In too great a rush for exhaustive work.
Let's make it clear, before I go on,
That this isn't the kind of tale you know,
The old, familiar kind with point or plot
And peopled with types like those you've met
And set in places to which you might go.
If a quick comfort's what you really want,
A cheap injection now can get you one,
A nice, easy life, done while you wait.
Be glad this tale's even told at all
And told in words you even understand.
All the fortune that Godhead's rained down,
All the grace with which this place was soaked,
Will go atrickle by to find its drain,
And you, my girl, are last to see it flow.
Even so, bird, three seems excessive.
Liber Jonae Contents