The Song of the Gnostic slave

Note:  As with most poetry, may I suggest that you please read this aloud (or loud enough to yourself so you can hear the words)?  Otherwise you most likely won't be able to hear the sound of the verses, and it will all just look rather dull.

Ever since I remember I've always been sure
I was meant for a scholar or such.
Which is odd when you think, as you do, with a drink
That I can't write my letters that much.
I fell in with a school who made it their rule
That to talk was the bright way to be
But to live by one's rules is the practice of fools
And just for fanatics, you see.

I was able to sneak more than one hasty peek
At the rolls in the study by day.
I learned to embellish, while preparing relish,
Any myth, epic, poem or lay.
Add an aeon or two as I scrubbed round the loo,
(though I knew neither Latin nor Greek).
And I learnt to sound wise, and how to disguise
Ignorance, at the clothes-wash each week.

[I adopted Christ's Name for a ploy or a game
Stuck it onto my theories and dreams.
And as others got nailed so as not to be jailed
I devised a more flexible scheme.
I'd be Christian each time that it suited me fine
Sacrifice other times, half and half
And shout down the folk who said it was a joke;
How rude, and unChristian, to laugh!]

I was there all the same when the soldiers came
For the guys with the Christian sign.
But they left me in bed 'cos I'd done as they said,
As you do when your life's on the line.
Always I'd had the sense to burn the incense
Liberal, that was me, for a fact!
And to rationalise away the quick lies
Which would help keep my skin all intact.

When they freed me one day I went straightaway
To establish myself as a sage.
For a penny a day, I got talkers to say
"He's the new wonder god of the age!"
But I found right away as I counted my pay
My words' worth, as was measured in cash.
My clients talked bright but the pay was too light
They valued my words at an aes!

The words I kept changing, the thoughts rearranging,
The questions, the answers, each day.
But as paytime came by once again I asked why
If I'm right then just why won't it pay?
When I go to the bank they look hard and look blank,
They say they knew the truth all along.
"You're a failed philosophical conman"!?!
Now just where do you think I went wrong?

Roger Pearse
31/03/99

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