They began that day in tavern, as many nights prior
And neither, right away, thought the other a fool liar
“I disagree, I think,” Loveland said taking a stance.
“Please expound, I’d love,” said Etah. “If you would perchance.”
They smiled, and toasted their debate
The other lesser talks could wait
The two friends had no food, the drinks enough that mid-day
The pair smoked pipes, drank ale, good whiskey, as was their way
After explications and such and the whirring of thought
After drinking and bad timing, and different logic they wrought
They voiced many ideas, some young, some old
Likewise, philosophies, some soft, some bold
The Two started out gesturing kindly to the other
Expressing many opinions, like good brother to brother
But one of them, Etah, thought the other uncouth
While the other, Loveland, cried, “I’m not lying, forsooth!”
“Yes you are!” said Etah being brash.
“No, you’re wrong,” Loveland said in a flash.
They sat at the table, as the day turned to dark blue
Discussing, trying ever, to convince whom convinced who
Bringing up angles, and points, with the ticks of the clock
But each other’s arguments, they put in no stock
“You don’t understand,” Loveland sighed.
“You’re a fool…” Etah said right in stride.
“Now you attack my character, rather than the word.”
Said Loveland, not unkindly, but the words were kind of slurred.
“I attack untruths, and the short-sightedness of those,
Those that won’t expand, and I often attack prose.”
“You’re rhetoric and mind.
From, me are far behind.”
“Save it for another, it’s an opinion obsolete.”
Replied Etah to Loveland, as he shifted in his seat
They spoke with intensity that most folks stray away from
They let everything they had come out, and nothing was mum
Words came out, above the rabble
Words that make friendships start to unravel
“Those principles I speak of, we must not betray them!”
Screamed Loveland to Etah, trying to condemn him
“You’re an outdated fool, if you can’t live in here.”
Said Etah, calmly, not spilling his beer.
Loveland cast his eyes to the floor
Etah sipped calmly, saying no more.
As mean as it turned, it turned even worse, to wicked
Their words went for blood, their faces turned twisted
People shuffled out, the night now long gone to black
They all hoped for resolve as they last turned their back
Then the door shut for the night
Closing in the terrible fight
So the debate remained within, sealing their tale
They kept sipping the whiskey, quaffing the ale
Like no two men should, when assailing their friend
With words, with demeaning, all with no sight of end
Many things went into their heads
But neither longed for their beds
“You can’t say that I’m wrong, you don’t know truth absolute.”
Said Loveland, while finishing his whiskey to boot.
“And neither can you!” screamed Etah back at him.
While dusting off his drink, looking over its rim.
They locked eyes for a long time
Which made the tension quite climb
“I have an idea,” Loveland said leaning back in his chair.
“Since God alone knows, he’ll show us, if we dare.
So we’ll make a bet, a bet that gives us both our due.”
“I have no time for God,” said Etah. “But I’ll make a bet with you.”
So both thinking their thoughts the best
Went through the night, no sleep, no rest
Out the bar they left to the old old forest patch
“We’ll have ourselves a leaf race, to settle this match.”
Said Etah having worked out all the details in his brain
While Loveland nodded agreement, not wanting to abstain
“We’ll bet our whole lives, if you’re in.”
Said Loveland with a ponderous grin
They both felt it in their own minds, how right they really were
That neither would back down or out, no neither had demurs
“So it shall be,” said Etah, as they walked up to a tree
“I’ll bet my life with, you and you’ll bet yours with me.”
“A leaf race,” the certain Loveland said.
Etah, so sure, nodded his head
“We’ll climb this tree, as high as us two are able.”
Said Etah, “The branches are low, and they look nicely stable.”
“We’ll both pick a leaf,” said Loveland, understanding the game.
“And drop it then, and see whose leaf is fastest to the ground.”
“It’s perfect,” said Etah. “There’s no wind, no people, no sound.”
Then they both climbed the tree
To discover what would be
Up in the branches, up high above the waiting ground
Perched Etah, and Loveland, with no else close around
They both picked their leaves (the winners, they thought)
And both were so ready for the fate that they sought
“The loser chooses to die.”
Said Loveland with a sigh.
“It’s true my old friend, and I’d hate to see you leave.”
But I’ve got no time for fools, and I give no reprieve.”
“You’ll see just who’s the fool, in a moment or so.”
They both held up the leaves, and at the same time let them go
The leafs drifted down, down unto the grass
And the steady deadly fall, swift it was to pass
But here’s what happened that fine day (for daytime it had turned)
The leaves both landed at the same time, so both of them had learned
That nobody is right, nobody knows true Truth.
Men or women, rich or poor, old people or the youth
We will disagree, ever, ever long
Never, never knowing, which of us is wrong
They both looked at each other, each one hanging his big head
For God (or something else) made them humble then instead
They both looked at the other, apologies in their eyes
And both knew one truth for certain: That nobody ever lies
So both knew their sins, as they hadn’t before
And the friendship that they had, was never, never more