Singular

He knew he had been singled out for greatness

and so he told himself he shouldn’t mind

if other children labelled him as “odd”

for frowning on their infantile behaviour

as though he stood apart from them, disdainful

of their prattle and their giggling and their sloth.

 

He knew that other peer-groups would await him

and so he bore the hurt of not belonging

and clung to his integrity with ardour;

a shabby little hero of the inkwell.

His masters voiced approval, but the praises

of those he prized and yet despised stayed absent.

 

He knew, his genius once become apparent,

that those who mocked him now would one day crow

about the days when they had been acquainted

conveniently forgetting cruel taunts

and they would fawn and simper when, by chance,

they met him, reminisced, and parted friends.

 

He knew his future would eclipse the present,

though he would find it easy to forgive

their envy, seeing him inspire desire

in glamorous women, mindful of their sneers

because he’d longed for more than transient pleasures

and waited, waited for a precious joy.

 

He did not know the depth of self-deception

he practised, for, if truth be told, he never did

amount to very much, and people always would

consider him as singular, and wonder why

he never made the effort to conform;

he might have been contented to belong.

First published in iota

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