The Pursuit Of Knowledge

from by Zack Hemsey

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lyrics

The sun was scattered through the colored glass
The floor was stained as light enveloped in a bath
And shadows on the wall from piles of books were cast
With rows that formed an aisle in through which I passed
These the quarters of a recluse whom I’d come to ask
About the origin of wisdom he was said to have
To get the story of “the man who knows more than any”, or so I read
He welcomed me to sit with affection and then he said:
“Since I was seven I’ve traveled the globe through words
Set on a mission to devour all I could learn
I’ve studied the writings of the greatest minds you’ve heard
Discovered the tenets that the finest thinkers observed
The more I gained, the more that I sought to earn
The more I attained, the hotter the fire burned
With every book I finished another was there to serve
For every text I read there were pages still left to turn
I’ve learned from all the migrants and drifters to whom I’d listen
Philosophers and soldiers whose knowledge I would solicit
I know histories of nations I’ll never have chance to visit
Complexities of science and language with great precision
But in the end I’ve seen nothing of what’s been given
This life that I’ve employed, while I love it, it has its limits
The failing I regret, though it’s painful, I must admit it
For everything I know of this world, I never lived it”


A silence hung for a moment’s thought
As echoes from the room decayed and tapered off
And there we sat reflecting, was it all for naught?
Until I spoke in earnest with this brief remark
I said that “while it’s evident your knowledge is rivaled by much shrewdness
I’ve never met a man with such wisdom who’s so foolish”
Then he grinned and he chuckled and asked if I
Would speak on what I’d seen through my travels, so I replied:
“I’ve seen the treasure that waits for a man to find
I’ve seen the consequence when the sun and the moon combine
I’ve seen the peaks of mountains that reach out and touch the sky
The struggle to survive and the desert where dreams have died
I’ve seen the best and the worst that we try to hide
The salt of the earth and the evil of humankind
I’ve seen the wrecked and ravaged and scavengers rummage through debris
And those that searched in hope, finding meaning where none once used to be
And some that stormed the beaches
Some that pledged allegiance
Some that scorched the earth for motives that they don’t agree with
Seen some get lost among the current of their grievance
While the tide of death and birth left some speechless
I’ve seen love bring some to their knees
And some lift hearts when they smile for no reason
I’ve seen fairytale endings to believe in
And now I see a man who’d see the same if he’d but seize it”

credits

from NOMAD, released November 4, 2016

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Zack Hemsey New York, New York

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