I met a bitter old man who said,
“Your senses can’t be trusted,
And nothing can be known.
Man’s nature, it is busted—
This truth I’ve always known.
Look, put this stick into the lake
And see how it looks bent.
Our eyes keep making this mistake,
With malice surely meant.”
“Hold on!” I roared, “you blasted thing!
If lake and stick you didn’t see,
If you’d not trusted your arm’s swing,
You couldn’t try this fakery!
If you’d not trusted I would hear
The very words to me you say,
Or saw the water was so clear,
Or knew the sun lit up the day;
If you’d not language heard and learned,
Nor breakfast seen, nor lunch;
If every food around you turned
Into something you couldn’t munch;
Why, if senses were as bad as that,
If nothing could be trusted,
I’d think your head a flowerpot,
With rusty weeds encrusted!
“So take away your bitter face,
Your hate of knowledge, man;
That is, if you trust sight to trace
The place where you began.”