“I want to know the truth” the young man cried,
“Why do you want to know?” the old man asked

— “What good, if you can prove it otherwise?

Will history change and alter its swift course?

What good can come from this which you surmise?”


“I want to know the TRUTH” the young man said,

speaking as a youth, defiantly.

“No matter what it is, I need to know—”

He added, “And the truth shall set you free!


“The truth!” the old man scorned, “and what is truth?

How do you think that it will set you free?

I’ve lived—I’ve lived my boy, and I have learned

—There’s very little truth in all humanity”

“The truth shall set you free” the old man mocked

“In this nation claiming all men free!

We’re fettered, all, by blind antipathies!

Who are you to speak of truth to me?”

“I want to know the truth” the young man said,

and he set his chin in steadfast quest.

“I’ll search—if need be, all my life, until—

I know. Until that day I will not rest!”

The old man shook his head, “Ah, youth,” he said

“How noble are the goals they seek—I say

No matter how they search, no one will learn

what really happened on that tragic day”


Sandra Lee Smith (1970s; updated 5/13/18


(Theme of this poem was the assassination of John F Kennedy in November, 1963 and the controversy regarding his death. Now, 55 years later, it remains a controversy. I had just turned 23 years old in September of 1963 and wept for 3 days over the loss of our young and handsome President.-sls)

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