As a young adjective growing up,
his was a youth beset by doubt.
Neither bullied nor one at whom cruelty was consciously aimed,
the source of his distress was more
existential in nature.

Often marginalised,
taught that adjectives were clunky,
unnecessary things,
serving only to intrude on the action.

The adjective was forced to sit and watch
while the verbs were out doing things.
He was jealous of nouns who could be things,
made confident by their tangible, unwavering sense of self.

Even collective nouns, convivial by nature, avoided him at lunchtime.
Nothing personal, they explained.
Their groups were already set.
Taking on adjectives would risk their social circle becoming verbose.

The likes of Hemingway and Carver shunned the adjective,
favouring brevity.
Twain declared that adjectives,
when caught,
should mostly be killed –
held in brusque contempt trumped only by that of adverbs.

Quiet torment he therefore endured
until the day on which,
without fanfare or witness,
his purpose was arbitrarily realised.

He could ascribe beauty and value to things
and therefore meaning.
He was the difference between a good day and bad.
Indeed, he himself could be good or bad.
Recalcitrant or willing.
He could be pernicious or propitious,
Subtle or explicit.

He could be all these things and imbue them in others.
He could be adroit
and capricious.
He could be anything.

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