A Theory of Sentimental Comedy


We’re reading of Terence in the TLS

And the fucking’s getting loud next door.

What ought our next act be?

Does an ethic prescribe radio until cessation—

Ensues? The paranoia of prurience urges “yes,”

Or they may sense the silence

Of an unrelenting listener.


As though they care,

As though they hear the hearing.

The silence is dry and deep

And unhostile around their efforts.

I switch on the radio at a sotto voce moment

And turn it to just above pianissimo,

The presenter’s soft lilt filling the middle air.

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