Saturday, February 14, 2009

lying eyes


Look with your head for what
you’ve lost, the eyes can’t find
the things that you have not
arranged within your mind.

By eyes don’t be misled,
they take you on wild chases;
rely on what the head
contains behind your faces.

Your head must keep on trying
to find what’s lost, for eyes
deceive, and may be lying,
as Groucho said––so wise!

Inspired by a story my cousin Arie told me concerning a car key that his wife Ruth lost after going shopping. Arie found it only by applying the principle taught to him by his father, my Onkel Bernhard, who told him that whenever he lost something he should look for it with his head, not his eyes. Arie remembered that Ruth had talked on the phone after leaving the car, and thus remembered that before she answered the phone she must have put down her shopping, and found the key under the onions.

Chico Marx, caught in flagrante in a most embarrassing situation in “Duck Soup,” protests his innocence by saying: “Who are you going to believe, me or your lying eyes?”

Writing this poem led me to the following major hiddush. Why are dogs better at finding things than humans? Because they use their sense of smell, and this sense is one that follows a time line. Smell is more useful that sight. I sent this poem to Steven Pinker, whose response was:

© 2009 Gershon Hepner 2/13/09

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