Fred Bartlett

New Jersey

Fred Bartlett

New Jersey

It's true: I only rarely wish to crow,

But if you're reading this, then you must wish

To know what I'll confess to. And, then, so

I'll tell you that I do not like to fish.

Not enough? Well, I'm rather fond of verse,

So long as it obey the rules set down

In those times when a bard's constructed curse

Had power to shame the head that wore the crown.

No chance of that. No crowns, no shame, no rhyme,

No words to change a heart, much less a mind,

Though no less need for such in this our time:

Or should we shrivel and be too much kind?

Better to atone for words sincerely meant

Than to force straight our crooked souls' true bent.