The Good Loser

I have portrayed temptation as amusing.
Now he can either waver or abstain.
His is a superior kind of losing
And mine is an inferior brand of gain.

His sacrifice, his self-imposed restriction
Will get through this controversy intact
For his is a superior kind of fiction
And mine is an inferior brand of fact.

I have displayed my most attractive feature
And he his least, yet still the match seems odd.
For I am a superior kind of creature
And he is an inferior brand of god

And if he cuts me off without warning
His is the book from which I’ll take a leaf
For his is a superior kind of mourning
And ours a most inferior brand of grief.

from Hotels Like Houses (Carcanet, 1996), © Sophie Hannah, 1996, used by permission of the author and the publisher.

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1Don't Say I Said

2Rubbish at Adultery

3One Track Mind


5The End of Love


7Skipping Rhyme for Graduates

8An Aerial View

9Lusing Afte Walter Knife

10Hotels Like Houses

11When He's At Home

12The Sight of Mares

13Pink and the Gang

14The Good Loser

15Occupational Hazard

16In Woking on Boxing Day at the Edinburgh Woollen Mill

17If People Disapprove of You...

18Next Door Despised

19The Norbert Dentressangle Van

20Long for this World



23The Cancellation

24Now and Then

25Postcard from a Travel Snob

26Your Dad Did What?


28In the Chill

29Pessimism for Beginners