I SAW THE CYNIC

“Oh modern man, oh modern man, what is this that you do?
I thought you had a working plan, you never had a clue…”

The modern man thinks cynicism a wondrous form of strength
Everything to him is trope, a bitter truth, the length
Of his shortened rod by which he whips out at the world
If only his so little rod were not so inward curled

But cynic odd, or love be damned, the fulsome of it all
Seems to flee out of his mouth as if he juggled balls
Like a jongleur of old times who loved a bit too much
To hear himself recount the tale of H.R. Pufnstuf

How can love, or hero-stuff, lead to better lives?
I don’t know, I just work here, I’ll have mine with chives
For turtle soup is this day’s catch, or maybe not so fast
What the hell is this about, Odysseus at last?

Look here comes the Jabberwock to bundersnatch us up
For if you’re selling your despair we’ll all just have a cup
So drink up lads, and drink it deep, nothing really cures
Epicurus had his day, ‘gainst that we’re all inured

Yet maybe still they hope to sneak like vipers in the grass
Some little thing to give us joy or even make us laugh
None of that – now off with you! You’ll not breed hope round here!
I’ll be damned before all that – you think me insincere?

Oh modern man, oh modern man, to hear the siren’s wail
Satire’s anchor caught below, eight bells and all is well
I saw the Cynic with a lamp, Diogenes his name
He sought a man he never found, that loss his only fame

Yet we’ve done better haven’t we? Now everyman is him
We’ve no lamps to light our way, but Hell we’re in the trim
So cynic this and whine of that and wail to weeping skies
I see the cynic everywhere, his mask is no disguise

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