Why do they lie to us, the ancient ones,
whispering their fables by the fire?
Otherwise so glib and garrulous,
they answer not a word to our objections
but smugly nod at their own oracles?

Why do the children listen to the stories,
their rosy mouths agape, their eyes intent?
Who could enjoy such patchwork chronicles?
But when we mock their far-fetched climaxes,
they pay no heed and start another tale.

This article originally appeared in The New Criterion, Volume 38 Number 9, on page 27
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