What The Ventriloquists Said

amid the growing craze for automatons
The voice within the device that moves is not
(as if nothing human
could be quite that moving) My precious edgling: though
some
believe
the answers be given by a man concealed,
these are speaking machines.

They were risking their lives.
Usually a woman or a child, who woke up inside the oracle,
who swallowed the burning oil, and who forces the idols to speak?

Though when the bishop Theophilus
broke open the statues at Alexandria, he found them hollow

it does not necessarily follow that

The penalty for trickery was death.
Such is the wealth of belief.
Behind a finely painted sheet of shell
a voice unlatched surrounds the world.

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