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This poem is taken from PN Review 39, Volume 11 Number 1, July - August 1984.

The Pleasers C.H. Sisson

All that remains to tell is how, later,
I became a top person in my way
But did not reach the top after all,
Because I had not the right sort of mind

Or because, when Fortune's smile was half-formed,
I did not keep a civil tongue for her
As certainly the best people do,
Who otherwise would never be the best.

No matter now. No matter, really, then
Though then it seemed a matter of importance
That scurvy characters should win all
- As so it seemed, and so in part it was,

As was the case no doubt in other courts
In other times, and so it always is.
The most expensive thing is innocence
Which I half-had, yet not more than half;
...


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