Ode to Private Language
a paper in four verses

If a lion could talk, we could not understand him -- Wittgenstein
Wittgenstein was a lion -- Madl

 

Whose sensations are these I think I know
I feel the pain in my big toe;
This is a concept I have learned
When first I gave language a go.

And Wittgenstein, he thinks it queer
I equate this pain with shedded tear.
For when I state I'm in distress
I've replaced the need to cry, my dear.

And do I know you feel the same
When you speak of your own pain?
Alas, I do not have a clue
That you are feeling what you name.

Objectively I cannot speak
Of 'pain' which happens week to week.
This language stuff is really deep.
This language stuff is really deep.

 

(With apologies to Robert Frost)

 

 

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1993-2007 JASM