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The Story

At evening by her father’s chair,
His tender hand upon her hair,
She turns from one page to the next
Her book of macaronic text,
Each sentence marked by some small blur
(A blankness that is Greek to her).
At some her forehead’s creased by doubt;
But more she never knows about,
Which innocently prophesy
Her heritage of loss and lie.

In a room that has no windows, ranks
Of certain men count up such blanks,
Which they record, graph and assess,
Extrapolating more from less.
And though the process is involved
Much retrospectively is solved
And set down in official script.
Then into each known blank is slipped
A datum that they feed back out;
But some they never learn about,
And these malignly multiply
Their heritage of loss and lie.

In private councils of the great
They ergotize, evaluate
The ends to which they might direct
Intelligences they collect,
Miraculously, so it seems,
From errors, absences and dreams,
The mind’s interstices -- although,
Some absences they never know,
And these confirm, as they defy,
Their heritage of loss and lie.

At home, the master of this land
Extends a father’s tender hand
To his daughter’s head, his tender look
Scanning her macaronic book,
And speaks of what to her is Greek.
But there is that he may not speak,
And cannot, for he too must trace
Lost words, but in a different place
(In spite of all that he directs,
More than he knows, and in more texts),
And these implacably supply
His heritage of loss and lie.