THE ANGRY MAN: a poem

Phyllis McGinley

Phyllis McGinley

By Phyllis McGinley

The other day I chanced to meet
an angry man upon the street —
a man of wrath, a man of war,
a man who truculently bore
over his shoulder, like a lance.
a banner labeled “Tolerance.”

And when I asked him why he strode
thus scowling down the human road,
scowling, he answered, “I am he
who champions total liberty—
intolerance being, ma’am, a state
no tolerant man can tolerate.

“When I meet rogues,” he cried, “who choose
to cherish oppositional views,
lady, like this, and in this manner,
I lay about me with this banner
till they cry mercy, ma’am.”  His blows
rained proudly on prospective foes.

Fearful, I turned and left him there
still muttering, as he thrashed the air,
“Let the intolerant beware!”

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