Truth is beautiful
without a doubt. But so are lies, Ralph Waldo Emerson wrote.
Maybe that’s why we never know which is which.
Why we repeat our lies again and again.
Even when we know they aren’t true, we want them to be.
But Nero didn’t fiddle when Rome burned.
(It turns out he was out of town at the time.
And the violin wasn’t invented until the 16th century.)
The soil of Carthage was never sewn with salt.
Marie Antoinette didn’t say, Let them eat cake.
Or brioche, as her enemies said, to inspire hatred of the Hapsburg queen.
Louis XVI did not have a tiny penis. (Quite the opposite.
The letters and court records suggest he was too well-endowed for the petite Marie.)
Catherine the Great didn’t die having sex with a horse
(Though she did have many lovers, the last 40 years younger than she.)
Nor did she expire on the toilet seat.
Napoleon was neither short nor impotent.
Nor was he cured of impotence by eating green beans.
The Virgin Queen might not have been a virgin.
George Washington didn’t have wooden teeth.
Roosevelt didn’t know the Japanese were planning to attack Pearl Harbor.
Churchill was not an alcoholic, and his father never contracted syphilis.
Hitler was not an atheist, a social Darwinist, or a follower of Nietzsche.
He believed the Bible told the history of man.
He confessed his faith in Jesus in speeches, and encouraged his Nazis
to worship in churches. In short, like most leaders in this country today,
he considered himself a good Christian.
-- Nin Andrews
Nin comments that this poem is in the mode of “Gossip,” which we posted on April 24th, adding: “This is the table talk of my childhood, which I sometimes hear in the back of my head when I sit down to write.”