Although, I said, I doubt not what you state,
Nor doubt that to pursue such thought at length
Would greatly improve my feeble intellect,
Nonetheless, even so weak a mind as mine
Can not fail to note an absence of life
To the wide ocean of wisdom you propose.
As with every other stretch of sea
My luck has yet encountered, it lacks fish.
Angelic nature might sustain itself
On such a fine, metaphysical lunch,
But a fisherman, you see, requires fish.
Fish, to be brief, is what I'm after. Fish!

I thank you, sir, for your kind reminder,
But, as it happens, you might have saved breath
By waiting to discern my final intent,
Which is, in fact, to give you what you lack.
And yet, if our bargain is to be fulfilled,
You must also master the prophetic craft
And learn to read in all visible signs
The invisible ends of God at work.
And so, if your life's goal is to catch fish,
The most efficient achievement of that goal,
In view of our bargain, is to learn the trick
That most prophets employ in their forecasts,
To cast your net in the one spot the fish
Shall reach to meet their foregone conclusions.

And how is such a trick learned? I inquired.

You will learn by experience with Nineveh,
Leading Ninevites to salvation's grace
The way a shepherd leads his flock to fold.

And are people, then, so easily led?

People, said the fish, are much like sheep,
Or like fish, if you prefer, fisherman.
Oh I know they pretend to own opinions,
An ownership they will defend to the death,
But, in truth, since that original sin
Committed by your gullible ancestress,
Originality has fallen from fashion,
Grown almost as scarce as the naked truth,
Replaced now by fig leaf underwear.
Who now rejects the outward for inward?
Who shuns the popular for the authentic?
Hear them, my friend, declare independence.
They will protest too much and too loudly
Complete freedom of human will and thought,
Yet they listen to talk from any worm
That works its way inside ripe innocence,
Squeezing slim plausibility around
All the obstacles erected by reason.
Inside attention is hypnotic trance.
At the slumbering pit of the mental fruit
There lies a deeply obediant zombie
Who never refuses rides with a stranger.
Here, in the volitional intersection
Of intellect and flesh, a prophet finds
A deep well, a perfectly passive pool,
That reflects any wave that comes along.
Any least splash or signal sent through
A medium of such elasticity
Will decrement peaks, increment troughs,
And stretch wavelengths to slow green wiggles.
This, my friend, is known as Huckster's Heaven.
Through a skilled and judicious application
Of proper sequences of stimuli
At proper frequencies the Lord's prophet
Inscribes onto this tabula rasa
What he wishes and damn fools believe it.
After I teach the spell that binds the crowd
Your every word is the word of the law.
Repeat the spell with proper pitch and tone
And you can charm the snake, you can make it dance,
Make it nod in enrapt submission,
Make the poison eyes light up with love,
As it weaves the maze to sleep's sure embrace,

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