The Libertine

You cannot win. It seems no matter
which way you progress
(to seek self-sacrifice for good,
or your own happiness),
the world will work against you
to undo what you have done.

It will erode your monuments
and interrupt your fun
with either condemnation
for the talents that you waste,
or horror at the way your talent’s used
beyond good taste.

To wit: should you choose sin
and find yourself in deep debauch,
you’ll be proclaimed a wretched soul
by those who only watch;
and virtue? that’s no better lot.

For should you speak your mind,
those holding power by wrong means
will take offense and find
some cause to treat you with contempt;
and with the line you’ve crossed
will spare no opportunity
to prove themselves your boss.

Perhaps the wisest course to pick
would be: stay underground,
refuse to share your wealth,
let your great talent stay unfound.

The world will think you “normal”,
worthy of no great alarm;
and if you’re lucky, your whole life
will do you little harm.

But then, your only enemy
will be the self you hide:
the talent that you must express,
that will not be denied.

So walk your path. It matters not
who praises which you take.

They’ll use tar to annoint you
for both feathers and the stake;
both ridicule and persecute,
should you step out of line
and either let your talent rot,
or cut an edge too fine
that it offends the sense of those
who claim to be your peers
yet think your life, in either case,
the sum of wasted years.

19 AUG 2006

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