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.