Ifs And Ans

From The Known Words 1, long out of print and replaced by The Known Words, which doesn’t include this (among others) due to it being not of sufficiently high standard:

To be honest, I don’t know where this came from. I remember writing it, sure, and I can see the influences and opinions clearly as mine, but what inspired me to do so, I have no idea. I wasn’t too sure of it until I sang it for some friends and they applauded, so here it is. It’s one of those philosophical folk songs, I’m afraid, at home in neither the twentieth century nor the middle ages. That makes it an SCA song, I guess, even if it doesn’t mention duct tape.


You tell me that Man is the King of the Earth,
The master of nature by right of his birth.
You claim only Science can answer a prayer;
Whatever’s not measured, it just isn’t there.

But somehow I’ve got my suspicion
That all of your mast’ry’s gone fishin’.
We might as well waste our time wishin’
That ifs and ans were pots and pans,
‘Cause no one round here has a clue.

I’ve heard all your legends of glory and gold,
When ev’ry man’s life was a tale to be told.
And now you’re lamenting the days flown away,
When hot dragon soup was the dish of the day.

But somehow I balk at the story
That only the past has its glory,
And wishing is now mandatory
That ifs and ans were pots and pans,
‘Cause no one round here has a clue.

So never mind all of your pessimist’s woes,
The answer’s as plain as the point on your nose.
As Hamlet explained to Horatio, mind
There’s more to this game than you’re likely to find.

And somehow I just have to sing it,
It’s not so unlikely to swing it.
Find something to trust in, then wing it,
And ‘though ifs and ans are not pots and pans,
One day, you might just get a clue.
Yes, though ifs and ans surely aren’t pots and pans,
If you’re lucky, you might get a clue.