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David

king-david

                         A single saying of David or Moses, such as ‘God will circumcise their hearts,’ is a test of their way of thinking.
                         All their other arguments may be ambiguous and leave it uncertain whether they are philosophers or Christians, but one saying of this kind settles all the others, just as one saying of Epictetus settles everything else in a contrary sense. Ambiguity goes just so far and no farther.

                                           – Pascal, Pensees, 690

Consult philosophers, what do they say?
Some fiction flinging theories from the void.
So ask the oracles you say? Well, they

Would speak of crows in flight and cooling guts,
Then hide the gods in feathers, plucked away
And squibbed with blood. Enough’s enough. For what’s

The use of being emperor if truth
Has taken wing in ether realms or struts
In toga, scroll in hand, with garlic breath

To wilt a legion? Rather to my mind
Arithmetic’s the thing. So do the math –
An easy thing to lead – but from behind?

At Actium it was so. (Ply the wax
As styli scribble! What these censors find!)
The breezes blow and Antony’s heart cracks –

An egg for augur’s breakfast. Take the win
As lessons in empire: peace prefers a tax
To nails upon a cross. So Palestine

Has made a stink? That crazy Herod writes
About his lack of funds? There’s truth for you!
No David he, but still, his greed indicts

And makes a friend in Caesar. Numbers, Kings
Of Iudaea, never let you down –
So count each coin a friendly thorn that stings

And slays the words your heart might seek to crown.

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