The Good Loser

I have portrayed temptation as amusing.
Now he can either waver or abstain.
His is a superior kind of losing
And mine is an inferior brand of gain.

His sacrifice, his self-imposed restriction
Will get through this controversy intact
For his is a superior kind of fiction
And mine is an inferior brand of fact.

I have displayed my most attractive feature
And he his least, yet still the match seems odd.
For I am a superior kind of creature
And he is an inferior brand of god

And if he cuts me off without warning
His is the book from which I’ll take a leaf
For his is a superior kind of mourning
And ours a most inferior brand of grief.

from Hotels Like Houses (Carcanet, 1996), ? Sophie Hannah, 1996, used by permission of the author and the publisher.

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