(Based on Fourier Analysis of the Preface to Miracle Mongers and their Methods by Harry Houdini)
Wonder is a novel ignorance we suffer,
a wondrous thing we find scarcely living, not the ignorance
of the words of a wise man boasting there is nothing
but ever remaining part of the culture.
More is known than such a professional will admit exists.
Many people have most wonderful everyday business, never seen
in recorded disillusion. If these things were written down
then stories of strange performances, gathered through much research,
would be explained away by means that turn an eye from wonder
at the foot of an idol, to culture.
Today, marvels are the tricks that lack supernatural ingenuity,
invented to startle the new safe stories, because the world
has favourite ages and favoured explanations for its culture.
Say a fakir is viewed through a camera and he cannot will his feat,
has lost hope, and appears as nothing on film. The view
is a performance glibly proven by companies of hypnotised onlookers
who make good profits (it's their employment)
and add volumes that deal with miracles under culture.
Intimate illusions, beyond familiar experience, can be learned
and placed near familiar explanations for you, dear reader,
so that if you are informed by these studies, your pages turn easily.
Some manner of bewildered wisdom is accomplished
without adding a lot to your daily labour.
All created fakes are worth nothing to bliss
For they can never teach the ignorant
They become contrary where they find
Their being in things that have some pique challenge
This set in front of folk in such innumerable feats
Exposes the stunt by not showing it to be a trick
But an imitation of he who climbs on roped air
The camera develops a whole explanation
The advertisement for working marvels on marvels
Miracle mongers hand out academic knowledge
Of people together with their psychology
As if an uncovering of the supernatural
Through worthy interest in these amusements
Were fortunes all folk were due to be repaid
said without lying
fakes beyond fake
they were wiser
of unusual acts
but shrewd clay
they stay hidden
under Hindu silk
so very much
you're too kind
they are in
with the advantage
their methods follow
bliss and fake
in the trees
and stage lights
and press agents