The Misfortune Teller ("Truthful Cretan Liars")

"All Cretans lie." -- Epimenides of Knossos (himself a Cretan)

Truthful Cretan Liars

I lied when I said that I spoke the truth,
And I speak the truth when I say that I lied.
I come from a land where they think it uncouth
To utilize language that hasn't yet died
Because they prefer to sell War to their youth
While shedding fake tears at the Peace they've decried.

I tell you for sure that I mean what I say,
And you must believe me 'cause you've got no way
To know if from paths straight and narrow I'll stray
Whenever I want what you've got on your tray.

I merely speak noises which I have observed
Make people do just about any damn thing;
While, still, for my own inner self I've reserved
What I really mean by the sounds that I sing,
Leaving up to my listeners what they have deserved
For thinking they know why the words soothe or sting.

My lies I support with true evidence scant;
But since I regard you as one potted plant,
I'm sure that you'll swallow my self-serving rant
Even though it consists of discredited cant

I truthfully lie, and as falsely speak true
While reason and ethics I ceaselessly flout.
I'm Jabberwock captain of one hopeless crew
Who followed me in where no one can get out.
So breathe in the smoke that I've exhaled at you
And lie down, saluting, the true lies I spout.

Michael Murry, "The Misfortune Teller," Copyright © 2010