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Critics who die are never loved;

Love itself is a paradox their ambiguous work

Cannot solve; theirs are the rocks

The penmanship of prose is driven onto –

Theirs the grove the poet is not laurelled in –

Canyons divide what labours they prove

To themselves have value, from

The impression made by them on authors


Stranded to one side of their prodigious wake –

They take more than they give, some say –

While others bask in their praise, as if

Their gift was new, more luminous solar rays –

But even when their own texts approach,

Penumbral, art itself, the beauty or truth

They claim remains incongruously peripheral,

Like the third lover in any complicated bed –


Used, then merely tolerated, perhaps despised,

For envy is bred by savage intimacy entangled by

Parasitical limbs – or what passes lyrically for such,

In the books they tore to shreds, or adumbrated,

As the worthiest of desire’s deceitful accolades.

All that can be said, fairly or in fallacious fury,

Surely is, the problematic of their lives is maybe resolved,

Perhaps pyrrhically, by the fact at least they failed in style.

April 24th, 2024, London

by T Swift


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