Today what you don’t know
Is what you didn’t know and wouldn’t
Know and may not know you hadn’t
Known when you had thought
You’d known enough, but hadn’t
Learned the first thing you would
Need to know to know what you could
Say you knew about where you are now.
Yo! (whew!) Où es tu maintenant?
Had you been under oath,
That is, if you had not been loath
To wed yourself by oath to vow
To tell the truth and nothing but the truth
Just now, you’d have to have resorted then
To vow in answer to the query ‘what words
Rhyme with now?’ (grâce à Dieu, pas
«maintenant») the only word that came
To you (came then to you, that is, not now)
Was how. Apart from vow. And, oh yes, cow.
They said, “oh no! Not cow. Don’t even think
About the cow.” Too late, you’d thought it.
“You ought,” they said, “more strictly to have
fought it.” Damned vow. If only you could
Now say you forsook to take the vow!
But wait! You never took it.
So go ahead, think Cow – Bifteck
Saignant Avec Buerre Blanc! – and cook it.