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