Verisimilitude by Edmund F. Byrne


Since long ago our species has
used verisimilitude
to convey important messages
and thereby others persuade.

Thus Sophocles championed burial rights
by creating brave Antigone
and Sir A. C. Doyle fought crime
in the guise of wise guy Holmes.

Cops still solve crimes, but none as well
as Father Brown.
We’ve gobs of global problems too;
go Madam Secretary!

To help us favor right over wrong
today’s film villains outdo
the likes of Iago, Simon Legree
or even Dracula.

Increasingly in the media
their messages are mixed.
One source goes high, another low
dividing credibility.

Why does any airway audience agree?
In the name of continuity?
Or maybe just because they’re pleased
by voices clear and firm.

Now say: have business words aimed at
the truth or the bottom line?
The answer’s often clear, and then
it hinders governing.

Untethered use of words now marks
what many authorities say.
They’re replacing verisimilitude
with indifference to the truth.

Edmund F Byrne, 2018