Cost

Cost

This poem is not worth
The paper it isn’t written on,
Nor the face valuation of
The seat you’re not even sitting on,
Nor your beating eardrums’
Holocausted calories;
No, not even the exhausted fumes
Of its multifarious similes.

This poem is not worthless
Because it could not be worth less
Than what it is worth,
Which is myrrh to the birthless,
Michael Buerk to the mirthless,
Bical to the Moët-mad heiress.
To say it’s worth its weight in salt
Overstates its capacity to exalt.

This poem is a mistake,
I can tell that already;
I am not a visionary
For whom the world is as yet unready.
If anything, I am as Æthelred,
Readying myself to be unread;
Acting too late on ill advice:
Balls to the grindstone, axe in a vice.

This poem is priceless;
It’s not to be sold separately
From the multipack from which
It is but profligate progeny.
To say its weight is measurable
Is to say that time is treasurable;
As much as man is malleable,
This poem can be called valuable.

This poem is not for sale.
If you paid for it with your broadband
Or the ill-gotten gains of your sword hand
You’ll simply never understand
The true nature of sacrifice,
The price of a cost, the cost of a price,
The robbery of an unfair exchange,
The power of conformity to affect change.

Appears in:
Mistaken for art or rubbish [2013]

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