There is nothing that must be said,

Despite what the vain poets say,

There is only what should be said,

And what we might have said, yesterday.

Do you hear nostalgia in “yesterday?”

That’s mostly what poetry is. That’s mostly what the poets say.

And if you are sad, you must be sad,

But I don’t know anything that must be said.

Examine all the poems, examine all the lives of the dead.

We find the attempt, and all attempts against what was attempted,

And further attempts, and we always attempt, as we should,

And if we ask for the bad, pretending to ask for the good,

The world will punish us, exactly as it should.

You should know this, but maybe you don’t,

And maybe they will tell you, or tactfully, perhaps, they won’t.

You don’t need to explain too much, or you shouldn’t;

You may hurt my feelings, but really, you wouldn’t.

But now the poet comes along and falsely says, what I have said, must be said.

I will write of love—before it is a love, before it is a love of someone who’s dead.

But there is nothing that must be said. Just say what you think you should.

Then tell me again of love that’s neither bad nor good.

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