“Dear Friend, With Regret”


for Jarmila


A loss of temper
Misdirected, it seems,
From the one who earned its aim
To the one who earned it not,
Means recompense comes due
From the intemperate
To the inadvertent recipient,
The true scoundrel having got off clean.

Apology owed,
Sincerely given here
By the one who lost control
And let arrow fly wrongly
With consequent regret
To have shot off the mark
And wounded one so undeservedly.

Remorse, yes, to hurt one
I hold dear.
What must one do?
For one must do penance,
Must mend what has been broken
And patch it best can,
For I hold no distaste
To have been proven wrong
When so wrong I have proven to be.

Forgive me, or give sentence.


(Paris — November 1, 1994)



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