Literature (1996)
A story in three voices
Alexander "Sasha" Volokh

The reader, the Muse, and the poet.
A trio eternal and rare.
Their story, for those who don't know it,
Is an epic of hope and despair.
Go visit a shrink or a medic
If you're thinking to walk in their shoes --
This threesome of pleasures aesthetic,
The poet, the reader, the Muse.

"I furnish the poet material
(Though authors may think it's the booze);
My insights are pure and ethereal -
All writers beware: I'm the Muse.
I give them their thoughts; I'm the feeder!
I'm jealous; I shouldn't be dissed.
And as for this mythical 'reader' --
I suspect that he doesn't exist."

"I'm the poet. You may not believe me,
But I get little help from the Muse.
She talks and refuses to leave me,
But I know that to write is to choose.
I edit her thoughts; I'm the weeder!
The Muse is too deep for the mob.
My hardship is lost on the reader;
It's a thankless and badly-paid job."

"I have great respect for the writer;
He tries to instruct and amuse.
I read, and the world becomes brighter;
At times, I see through to the Muse.
Now if he could write clearly, and neater --
But maybe that's way past his means....
Oh, what do I know? I'm the reader.
But I have no clue what he means!"

"I really don't know why I bother
With this line of work," says the Muse.
The reader agrees. "Screw the author
Who treats us with scorn and abuse!"
"Shut up," snaps the poet. "Keep silent;
You figment; you man of the crowd."
He dreams of a mythical island
Where authors alone are allowed.

They quarrel at every occasion.
They grapple, they bitch and they moan.
Each causes the others' frustration,
But you never can find them alone.
They exist, though they try not to show it,
For each others' enjoyment and use --
The reader, the Muse, and the poet;
The poet, the reader, the Muse.

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