I think your spiel is pure fabrication,
Just as you yourself are an artifact.
You know nothing of true parrot nature.
I'm only reasonable facsimile,
I admitted, of a true parrot nature,
You're just going to have to live with it.
Mock my origins, my stature, my substance,
Mock my style and mannerisms, if you wish,
I am, truly, a parrot mostly mock.
Nonetheless I expect consideration,
Polite, if not quite enthusiastic,
Of the kind given a grandfather's lies.
We listen to patriarchs, almost dead,
Who falsify to glorify their lives,
So that dull, inert, leaden time
May transmute to a golden age reborn.
Once upon a time, long long ago,
Heroes walked the earth and did great deeds.
Don't dispute these words despite the fact
You know full well they misrepresent.
Nod along. Give consent to falsehood
Even though it's clear to all involved
That men of yore were just as short in reach,
Indeed shorter in reach than those today
Since they lacked performance enhancing drugs,
Treadmills, stationary bicycles,
Biofeedback, artificial limbs,
Biceps beefed up with injected goop,
Mental trainings taught by Chinese monks
That raise ordinary fisticuffs
Aloft into dogfights with biplanes
To wow the crowds at fairground airshows.
They were, in a phrase, less inclined to cheat
Due not to greater inbred honour
Or underdeveloped determination
But only to lesser opportunity.
It's in words not deeds that the past shines;
It's as liars that old-timers excel.
I've sat on docks myself, heard them talk,
Describe the size of fish that got away
Or which, because it couldn't fit the boat,
They put back in water, let swim off.
It breaches bonds between generations
To jump up and shout, that's a damn lie,
It never happened, neither God nor man
Ever gave your doings a second glance.
Die now or later, it doesn't matter,
Your eulogy's written, brief and business-like,
We need only fill in blanks with name.
Here it is, the priest's boilerplate form:
Born, suffered boredom if not worse, died,
Rose from dead, did laundry, died again,
You may now kiss the bride, rest in peace.
No, such response does no one good.
It's best to listen, as if transfixed,
And keep unspoken all reservations.
A prophet, likewise, deserves attention
Even when, through no failure of his own,
And like some toothless ancient mariner,
His high-flying spittle misses its mark
And hits with spray a bystander instead.
These efforts, at least, are still well-meant.
A willing suspension of disbelief
Is necessary both for fiction
And its cousin, the medium's seance.
Dead voices quavering in a still mind,
In a mind that brackets the mundane world,
Will heal the wound between heaven and earth.
Sink back into your cushions and listen,
I'll ease you back to that seamless sack
Whose warm, wet walls will impart meanings
Sweeter by far than the queen's honeycomb.
You've already sold me on the sackcloth.
How much more, parrot, must I swallow?
Liber Jonae Contents