The Bard Vs. The Truth

The Bard said, “Friends, I do decry
This slander and vulgarity
‘Twixt what is true and what is spoke
There’s an unjust, grave disparity.

You hear that Bards tell little truth,
That we tell but tales and fables,
That we wrap the Real in barest rags
And lies in ermine sables.

Slander! Lies! How scurrilous!
What vile and venal fiction!
(The Bard’s face did rapidly contract
In justified constriction.)

Why, we tell truths superior
To mere and flawed recounting
We tell truths which are made of lies
For bigger lie surmounting.

What we mean is: Truth’s okay
(Though it plays poor in Peoria)
And truth’s just fine, if you’d like a town
To shrug at and ignore ya.

“But when there’s a truth that’s a mighty truth,
One you feel in your heart and bones
How could you subject it to the pain
Of truth’s indelicate tones?

“Weave a truth, persuasively,
And perhaps a few will follow
But truth has many flaws, such as:
It’s generally rather hollow.

Things that occur tend to occur
In a manner most inconvenient:
They simply ARE. And that’s all you’ve got
To convince listeners that you’re meaning it.

How ridiculous! How idiotic!
Real news is basically hypnotic
It’s not true, speaking precisely,
but it’s spoken with confidence,
and fits our format nicely.

Hemmingway said you can remove
Any part of a story that you’ve
Decided isn’t relevant
And sure, fiction is what he meant–

But you’ve hooked people on apocalyptic perceival
(everything that happens is totally good or evil)
They’ll never settle for the brain-painful cruelty
Of nuance and ambiguity.

“True tales, therefore,” the Bard propounded
(In a voice which carried, and resounded)
“…are the tales we tell which are best-loved;
Not those into which Reality’s shoved.”

“If it were true,” the Bard concluded
(His pitcher empty, his plate denuded)–
“Why, if it were true, the Gods would make life easier for us
By making sure it was catchy,
And had a great chorus.”


My name is Jeff Mach (“Dark Lord” is optional) and I write rather a lot of fantasy and science fiction, often (but not always) satire or a bit of dark huYou can get most of my books right here. Go ahead, order I HATE Your Prophecy“ It may make you into a bad person, but I can live with that.

Jeff Mach Written by:

Jeff Mach is an author, playwright, event creator, and certified Villain. You can always pick up his bestselling first novel, "There and NEVER, EVER BACK AGAIN"—or, indeed, his increasingly large selection of other peculiar books. If you'd like to talk more to Jeff, or if you're simply a Monstrous Creature yourself, stop by @darklordjournal on Twitter, or The Dark Lord Journal on Facebook.