by Delmore Schwartz
When I was a young man, I loved to write poems
And I called a spade a spade
And the only only thing that made me sing
Was to lift the masks at the masquerade.
I took them off my own face,
I took them off others too
And the only only wrong in all my song
Was the view that I knew what was true.
Now I am older and tireder too
And the tasks with the masks are quite trying.
I'd gladly gladly stop if I only only knew
A better way to keep from lying,
And not get nervous and blue
When I said something quite untrue:
I looked all around and all over
To find something else to do:
I tried to be less romantic
I tried to be less starry-eyed too:
But I only got mixed up and frantic
Forgetting what was false and what was true.
But tonight I am going to the masked ball,
Because it has occurred to me
That the masks are more true than the faces:
-Perhaps this too is poetry?
I no longer yearn to be naïve and stern
And masked balls fascinate me:
Now that I know that most falsehoods are true
Perhaps I can join the charade?
This is, at any rate, my new and true view:
Let live and believe, I say.
The only only thing is to believe in everything:
It's more fun and safer that way!
Last updated August 18, 2022