What is want but the begging of need?
Where is pleasure but in satisfaction's desire agreed?
Who is another save whom we should passing notice uncaused?
Why answer's life's riddles except when suffering the less gained and the most lost?
When comes expectation other than after its hopes have expired?
How is strength found in all that wearies bone and our soul makes tired?
These ways, these turns of irony, these enigmatic tricks of the cosmos' deck-master and dealer,
escape rational apprehension,
and reason's redoubtable calculation elude.
And though a philosophical calculus should attempt it all to pithily surmise,
I discover I am not by its celebrated wisdom any more wise,
but am left with devices whose promises were greater than what they could deliver,
their robbing all I expected from one who called himself a giver.
My hands, stolen poor, hold now but the pennies of faith,
copper trust instead of logic's mythical gold;
temperate steel in place of the silver of presumption,
or, rather, the guessing of human assumption.
I, nonetheless, sense neither sorrow nor poverty have my life taken,
but, in fact, am certain the Nobel sages and seminar gurus are just mistaken;
that, though truth cannot now be welcomed or unmartyred told,
I'm heir to wealth priceless bought and freely sold.
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