THE POKER


An upper room, somewhere

in Cambridge, England, 1943.

 

Outside, a rainy night, the Kardomah closed,

long queues at the Alhambra

for Max Miller, the Cheeky Chappie.

 

 

 max-miller-3

 

 

Inside, a roaring fire and a pride of philosophers.

 

Wittgenstein:           The world is everything.

 

ludwig-wiittgenstein

 

 

Russell:                     Man is not a solitary animal.

 

 bertrand-russell

 

Popper:                    History has no meaning.

 

karl-popper-1

 

Zeleznik:                  The world is a fiction of memories.

 

 

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Did Wittgenstein pick up the poker

to emphasise a point?

Or silence Popper?

Did Popper mention the poker

to point a moral paradox?

Or mock Wittgenstein?

Did Russell call one an ‘upstart’,

the other ‘erudite’?

Or admonish them both?

Did Zeleznik arrive with Wittgenstein,

agree with Popper,

and leave with Russell?

Or was he at The Alhambra?

 

Next morning, the skivvy, who had

certainly been at the music hall, removed

the ashes and re-set the fire. The poker

she moved from wherever it was to

wherever she judged it should be –

and chuckled.

 

Woman:                   Is this Cockfosters?

Max:                         No, madam, Miller’s the name!

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