This poem was written in response to a scurrilous and unwarranted personal attack that occurred after I posted my poem I live my life ... on a poetry forum.

 Cry freedom!!
           Paul McLaughlin

 I guess I should be flattered
that my poetry was battered
when a "critic" was dismayed

And offended by my symbol
of a penis, bold and nimble,
in a feministic way,

So she ranted and invected,
and with outrage unconnected
to the poem that she mocked,

Cast aspersions rather rudely,
and I thought, a little crudely,
on my metaphoric cock.

Well, at first my pride was shaken.
Then I thought, You'd be mistaken
if you let this claptrap pass

For a justified shellacking
of a poem clearly lacking
either quality or class.

So I rallied with an e-mail
that asserted, male or female,
I'm entitled to respect

And to freedom in my writing
from the picayune back-biting
of the poetically correct.

(Yes, I know that doesn't scan;
political correctness rarely can.)

April, 1999