the iron bed
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  keith  o'connor
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The Iron Bed

myths teach us wisdom
wisdom of how we behave
wisdom of how we think
wisdom of how we believe
wisdom of how we love

this myth
an ancient greek myth
as true today as it was yesterday
and the days before yesterday
tells of an innkeeper
who provided his guests with iron beds
for no guest would ever steal
a heavy iron bed

yes mr. innkeeper i would like a room
a room with your best iron bed
you are very tall mr. guest
no matter mr. innkeeper
your best iron bed please
as you wish
please mr. tall guest
come this way
we must make adjustments
so you may fit into the iron bed
- the bed is much shorter than you -
adjust as you wish but
I must sleep in your finest iron bed

the tall guest died
from loss of blood
and shock
moments after his legs were guillotined
guillotined just below his knees

why do they always die
even the ones who are too short
they too die
die when i stretch them
i just want to make them fit
fit to sleep comfortably
in my best iron bed

Keith O'Connor Aug 25, 2004

Source Idea for Poem: the iron bed:

Wittgenstein's Philosophical Investigations by William Brenner pg. 4 and 5.

"Greek mythology tells of a bandit-innkeeper by the name of Procrustes. When guests arrive who do not fit neatly into the uniform iron beds he provides for them, he stretches or prunes them so as to make them fit - killing them in the process. A mark of wisdom in philosophy is knowing how to recognize and resist (procrustean) [playing with the iron bed] uses of the models and ideals of the theorizing mind."

When you try to modify the facts or your ideas to fit some preconceived notion then you are trying to make them fit into the iron bed and that can be misleading to yourself as well as others. Since my greek name pronunciation is not great I usually refer to this idea fitting as "playing with the iron bed"

Think of how often you our your friends play with the iron bed. You will be surprised - but only if you can self reflect.

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