The Man Who Knew

…from the quills of the dead white poets

Robert William Service (1874 – 1958)


The Dreamer visioned Life as it might be,

And from his dream forthright a picture grew,

A painting all the people thronged to see,

And joyed therein – till came the Man Who Knew,

Saying: “’Tis bad! Why do ye gape, ye fools!

He painteth not according to the schools.”

The Dreamer probed Life’s mystery of woe,

And in a book he sought to give the clue;

The people read, and saw that it was so,

And read again, then came the Man Who Knew,

Saying: “Ye witless ones! this book is vile:

He hath not got the rudiments of style.”

Love smote the Dreamer’s lips, and silver clear

He sang a song so sweet, so tender true,

That all the market-place was thrilled to hear,

And listened rapt – till came the Man Who Knew,

Saying: “His technique’s wrong; he singeth ill.

Waist not your time.” The singer’s voice was still.

And then the people roused as if from sleep,

Crying: “What care we if it be not Art!

Hath he not charmed us, made us laugh and weep?

Come, let us crown him where he sits apart.”

Then with his picture spurned, his book unread,

His song unsung, they found their Dreamer – dead.

About Paul Jacko

Jacko was born in Czechoslovakia not long before the communist putsch in February 1948. He studied industrial chemistry there and left in 1969 for Australia, where he became a lawyer and established his own practice. He has now retired and beside hunting, fishing, camping, prospecting and playing golf he amuses himself by writing.
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