Exchange of Compliments by Thomas Burke

At ten o’clock last night an ugly fellow,
Of skinny exterior and most ungracious manner,
Was thrown with a total loss of gravity
From the flapping doors of the Blue Lantern.

He lurched in most ungainly fashion past this person’s shop—
This person standing at his door—
And used base language of an unpolished nature,
Calling him Ugly Yellow Bastard,
Hop Fiend and Dirty Doper,
Eater of Dogs and Cheater at Puckapoo,
Son-of-a-Bitch and devotee of vice.

This person did not respond in like manner,
Knowing that he is not himself all-perfect,
Nor even in every hour
A devout follower of the teachings of the Four Books.
He contented himself with repeating in a far-reaching tone,
The words of the lofty Lao Tzu:
When pot upon stove reproveth kettle for blackness,
Pot speaking out of turn.

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