Monkey’s Tractatus


Monkey’s Tractatus
(after a philosophical argument between
Ludvig Wittgenstein and Bertrand Russell)

When monkey sees a hippopotamus in the temple grounds
he knows it is grounded in fact.
We really must get rid of it!
It obediently vanishes.

There is a silence in the temple cells
broken only by the broom’s clean sweep
as insects are swept away from the footsteps of the unworthy.

Monkey sees the hippo trapped beneath a chair.
He can feel it struggling to set itself free.
Now hippo gets tangled in monkey’s hair.

Monkey will have its hide for a shield against dark thoughts,
an unbroken umbrella to guard him from this rain of teardrops.

Hippo bathes in a hip bath of crocodile tears:
Sunt rerum lacrimae.
He wallows in philosophical sorrow.

When the hippo leaves the temple,
there is a silence as the unspoken word returns,
a silence broken only by the hum of the hoover,
and the beat of a condor’s invisible wings.

14 thoughts on “Monkey’s Tractatus

  1. For some inexplicable reason, which escapes me of course, after reading that, I began to think of ‘existentialism’ and the meaning of life, but then I was also reminded of that Dahl poem on the cerebrative pig. I’d better stop, there.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I wondered what that e-mail of yours was all about! Now it makes sense. Us Glamorgan boys … we’re all Welsh Wizards. The meaning of life: sunt rerum lachrimae — tears are in all things … that’s the meaning of life.


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