On Criticism

Like venom
Spit into my face
By a spitting cobra,
Stings my eyes
Burns my ears
Warms my blood
Wounds my heart.
Only a large ego
Shields me,
Protecting me
From a crippling blow.
Like acid
Can shrivel
The budding rose.
Can also
Be the blacksmith's forge
Firing my works,
Enabling me to
Mold them
Reshape them
Hammer them into
A more desirable form,
One where words
Have the solid ring
Of hardened steel,
And shine with
Truth and beauty.

Harry Edward Gilleland      09.03.01