Logicians are predators. They pounce
on quavering fallacies. They eviscerate
shaky premises that wobble, poor colts on
spindle-shanks. Logicians are dogs
who disembowel the ambiguous, ermine-
throated ladies of inconsequence.
I’m leery of logicians with their
Chinese cleaver jaws and bone-saw fangs,
their claw curettes and scalpel talons.
They sever my fogs, they vivisect
my mists, they savage all my smogginess.
Yes, they are hyenas. After the lions leave
they sterilize the gut-buckets of the veldt.
They suck up red marrow for their syllogisms.
They cauterize horizons with astringent snouts.
The blatant, the vacant and the bald,
the gnawed, the scraped, the flensed, the pithed,
ignite their jubilance. They bask
in Namibian thistles. They gorge on horse
radishes. In the salt-flats of the zero
you hear their hollow yowls: Barbara!
Celarent! they moon-bay, Fesapo!Camestres!
I sometimes think their yips will unhinge me.
And yet, it is the case, I also think,
that covertly they hanker for the zenith,
that privately they idolize meridians,
that tacitly, beneath their crunch-smug bites,
logicians are the scavengers of apogees.
i.m. Sextus Empiricus
This article originally appeared in The New Criterion, Volume 27 Number 4, on page 35
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