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  • LIES




    I

    When you were young
    lies kept the dream of sex
    alive, and when sex ceased to be
    a dream, the liar in you replaced it
    with love.
    Coversation at parties
    owes everything to lies, but conversation
    between friends owes more. It is the same
    even in an open boat.
    On the way home from Bible
    class you saw in the bus mirror
    your best friend steal the rat-tail comb
    from your back pocket
    and when he convinced you
    he had done no such thing,
    you knew you had witnessed a miracle.

    Dante reserves the deepest level
    of hell for suicides and liars because
    they refuse to accept life
    as it is.
    Othello would be nobody
    without Iago. Your first lover was a liar.
    For a time we admired the teachers who didn't
    lie, but later we hated them for it.
    Christ interests us more
    if we imagine him a liar. Some think
    it is tools, others hindsight, but really
    it is the lie which sets us apart
    from animals.


    II

    Whatever is easy is good.

    When children first discover lying,
    parents say faith is impossible. Shouldn't
    they thank their sons and daughters
    for such wisdom?
    We can always recognize people
    who aren't liars because they stand out.
    They have lost the art of camouflage
    and will probably die soon.
    Your present lover is a liar, too,
    only a better one. What good is the Tree of Life
    without the Tree of Knowledge?
    God forgives
    everything because he's lied to us
    from the beginning.
    We say sinners lie
    to others and moralists to themselves.
    What we mean is everybody
    lies.
    Adultery is not the same
    as lying. It is telling the truth
    no one wants to hear.
    We never forget how to lie.
    It's like swimming or breathing,
    a survival skill.
    Miranda is redeemed because she learns
    how to lie. Lady Macbeth goes mad
    because she forgets.

    I will not speak of the poets.


    III

    We are relieved
    to be caught in a lie, joyous to discover one.
    Such pleasure cannot be wrong.
    All art is a lie and history
    has shown we will pay anything
    for it. The people we lie to
    are the ones we really love.
    On the stage one can perform
    a lie and be honoured for it. On the battlefield
    one can live a lie and be killed for it.
    The reverse is also true.
    Who is the better actor?
    A philosopher writes of a rich man:
    after a long absence he returns
    in disguise to his home town
    only to be killed
    by his own mother
    who doesn't recognize him.
    There is no better irony
    than the irony
    generated by a lie.
    Do not despair. Anyone who believes
    in something can lie. There is the gift
    and the wrapping. Which is which?
    Paradox is a lie in its Sunday best.

    Last week at a high school reunion
    I heard a voice telling me to confess,
    but when I opened my mouth, my friends
    only laughed and brought me more wine.
    This is certain: if you have loved,
    you have lied. If you have lied
    to me, I am grateful.
    Not everyone is lucky enough
    to be saved
    from the truth.

    -Terence Young, The Island in Winter

    from frances

    2 comments:

    metaphysicalpickles said...

    =)

    Those last 6 stanzas-- damn.

    Frances

    upoytao said...

    wahh yes yes yes when I read it I loved it waahhh