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Because All Falsehood Spreads Its Illness, I

(For J.C.M.)


We must speak frankly, you and I.

We must, at least, have that decency,

To bring forth that semblance of imperfect light,

Of imperfect sight,

So all that has been cruelly hidden and renamed

Disguised and and slyly unspoken,

Can be at last imperfectly seen

And clearly declare:

We are not what we have pretended to be:

You not my friend but my enemy,

And I unwillingly yours.


Oh, our is an ancient story but one seldom told

And less still understood.


You gave me shelter; this is true

But yours is a house made of mirrors

Bearing only your reflection;

And yours a song of liberty sung only to yourself;

(And here you did not lie nor did you speak a truth)

You Nebuchadnezzar,

I eating your grass which my seeds plant,

My labor brings forth.

You were not kind but ill but I could not see.

One moment of blind compliance stoned in silence  into law

Miming centuries of useless rage.

Yes, ours is an ancient image and one often dreamed

In lives stilled underground.


There is and must be war wither you will war or not.

You made it so and now weep of ingratitude.

I sheltered you when homeless! I sang to you when sad!

But I am sickened by confinement and sick of being sickened;

Because all falsehood spreads it1s illness, I

Must speak clear to you my truth:

You may listen or you may not

But my voice shall be heard and my words

Will echo throughout our evening in Exile.


Patrick Walsh

Patrick Walsh is a writer and contributor for the Brooklyn Rail.


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