The Misanthrope

I almost bought your book of poems,
collected after your death -
you were a real poet
who wrote about what you knew
and wished you didn't.

but you're dead now
and my money would go
to the book trade you railed against
and your widow who owns the copyright,
I see on the inside cover.

I should have bought them when you were alive
and needed the money
but you're dead now
so it really doesn't matter
if I read them standing up
in the bookshop

surrounded by young women,
the kind you liked to write about
and knew so well,
because you were a real poet
whose life went to hell
according to the values of your day.

but you won out in the end
and had your say,
all the bookshelves have your words
I could stand here all day, reading them
but they depress me in the way
you were right about your life,
             and others' in the main.

a girl next to me picked you up
and put you down without opening,
she said, "I think he had a heart of gold,
but it was badly beaten out of shape."

though like your poems,
             it came out right.