Lessons of Youth

When you were a child
the world looked down on you
and made no sense.

When you grew
you looked up and around
and you read the primers
(“the quick brown fox”
and all that)
and you learned the words
that made the world
make a sort of sense.

There was order
there was justice
there was a reason
for your parents’ instructions
and explanations for when to turn on the heat
when to run about in the fields
and when to sit still.

Older still
you learned some of the earlier lessons
were not quite so simple
but many other things fell into place
and the world proved more sensible than not.
The rules of the parents
of the teachers
of all establishments
were thus: do as we say
and life will go smoothly.

And the heat rose
and the animals played
and the trains ran on time
and you whistled while you worked
and one day
when your learning was done,
you slipped
and learned something new
or unlearned something old
and that might explain why
you are now cuffed to a radiator
along with an angry fox
but it probably doesn’t
because really
all the things you learned were lies
since the first thing you knew
was the only one true:
the world looks down on you
and nothing is sense.

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