There’s one thing I will never forget.

The insult—which the careless always regret.

Even love will not be returned.

But if you insult me, the world will have learned.

And if you offer love, but insult me, too,

And make love a form of insult, God help you.

Happy philosophy will teach you to trace

The sad lessons of the human race.

Love pleases me, and so does tact,

But there’s nothing like insult to make me act.

It’s not always clear how the insulted will get you,

But it will be literary and glorious, I bet you.

Mistaken criticism will bring out

An even better poem, which ends all doubt.

Victims cannot write poems, unless the result

Is a good poem—but a better insult.

I remember an attacker was described so well,

The poem was glorious because the poem is where he fell.

I remember John Keats and the rage of Blackwood—

Bad poets today are still insulted because he’s that good.

You took my love, and put me through hell,

But now I never wrote, nor slept so well.

You gave me reason with your hate yesterday

To love, to improve, to know revenge as the heart of every good play.

But remember, though you’re in pain today,

My hate is love and my hate, because it’s love, before the poem’s done, simply drifts away.





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