Too Smart by Ed Shacklee

Too Smart

Before we got too smart, the world was flat –
above our heads, the music of the spheres.
What’s going round and round compared to that?

Local gods and demons babysat
our knuckle-dragging mums and dads for years
until we got too smart: the world was flat,

unrolled and supine as a welcome mat
with edges where the unknown disappears.
What’s going round and round compared to that

delightful sense of knowing where one’s at,
even Plato’s Cave? For it appears
that before we got too smart the world was flat,

and cooler till we broke the thermostat,
like hamsters on a wheel who’ve stripped the gears.
For what goes round, comes round, and that is that:

each up becomes a down, and like a gnat
a pesky doubt still buzzes in our ears;
for till we got too smart, the world was flat –
what’s going round and round compared to that?

by Ed Shacklee

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Editor’s Note: The villanelle form lends itself to the twisting, recursive philosophy that is the central theme of this poem.