arts / poetry / writing

More on truth and lies

Cretan Poetry

All poets are liars.
Believe none of us.
We weave webs of words to bewitch and baffle you.
We turn what is into what might be
and what could never be into what shall be.

We snag your imagination like a fish on a hook
and draw you out of the safety of your placid pools
into the fast white water where hidden rocks lie in wait.

We are crocodiles
whose jaws open wide
to swallow all your certainties
and spew out spurious uncertainties
whose glamour vanishes like mist in sunlight
once the book is closed.

We are cheating lovers,
truanting schoolboys,
thieves of borrowed time,
con merchants on the make,
drug dealers who would stuff your brains with our garbage,
fallen angels,
unfrocked saints,
will o’ the wisps,
foggy miasmas,
red herring curers,
death defiers,
evil eyers.

Nothing we say is true.

Believe none of us.

All poets are liars; that is the truth.

I, a poet, tell you this.

Cretan Poetry, by Karl Dallas (May 4, 2002)

This poem is based on the well-known paradox of Epimenides, a Cretan, who was supposed to have said “All Cretans are liars”. But is he telling the truth or not? If the sentence is true, then it is false. But if it is false, then it is true.


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