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To Err Is Human

What would you say, said the tall man
With a stove pipe hat and breeches,
If I said to you: you’re wrong?
I looked at him, askance
And asked him, wrong about what?
He looked at me with his lopsided face
On which was a lopsided grin
And said, a lot of things you’ve said or ever done

I said, hey, just what’re you trying to pull,
You stupid lookin’ freak.
I s’pose you’re going to tell me
What I’ve done or said that’s bad.
But, I don’t think you’ve got the right
To tell me one damned thing
So put your homily away and take a hike;
Just leave me well alone
But then, I looked quite carefully
At this funny looking guy
with his long frock coat and Jesus boots,
Whose appearance made me grin inside,
and asked him just how did he know
Of all the things I’ve done or ever even said?

Let me tell you what I think,
Said he, the stove pipe hatted man
You just a human being
And have that tendency to err
To say one thing and do another
Without a second thought!
But, in that, you’re not alone
As thousands do the same
But, does the dunce’s hat loom large
or do you fasten on some circumstance,
Convenient for your purpose,
That lets you off the baited hook
And absolves you from all wrong?
Again, you’re not alone
As thousands do the same
But, I’ll be kind and say; it’s just the little things
Which might have caused offence
To some but which you told yourself
Were of no matter because you thought
That what you said or did was funny,
And if they cannot take a joke,
Why join the club at all?

Now, let me tell you carefully
Just what I am trying to do.
I want to make you think
That every little thing you do,
Without due careful thought,
May have effects unknown and cause
Another harm enough for them to say
Hey now, that is just not fair!
So, if you see no error in what you say or do,
You cannot be surprised if what you say offends.

We are, none of us, the same as one another
And, however recondite our knowledge,
We cannot know for sure
About another’s sense of right and wrong.
So, we owe it to ourselves to be aware
Of those toes on which we tread
When what we see as harmless fun
could be another man’s displeasure

To Err Is Human

Andrew  Bailey

Ilfracombe, United Kingdom

  • Artist
    Notes
  • Artwork Comments 11

Artist's Description

In Charles Kingsley’s famous book The Water Babieswhich I read as a child, my favourite character was Mrs DoAsYouWouldBeDoneBy. I thought she was great. This piece of verbiage tries to do something similar.

Artwork Comments

  • Lisa  Jewell
  • Andrew  Bailey
  • Christine Oakley
  • Andrew  Bailey
  • Arcadia Tempest
  • Andrew  Bailey
  • lianne
  • Andrew  Bailey
  • Andrew  Bailey
  • anaisnais
  • Andrew  Bailey
desktop tablet-landscape content-width tablet-portrait workstream-4-across phone-landscape phone-portrait
desktop tablet-landscape content-width tablet-portrait workstream-4-across phone-landscape phone-portrait

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