THE CENSOR

by Richard Wilbur

In any company, he listens hard
For signs of vanity and self-regard
Reacting to each name that’s dropped, to each
Complacent anecdote or turn of speech
With subtle indications of surprise—
A wince, perhaps, a widening of the eyes,
Or a slight lifting of the brow, addressed
To the egomaniac within his breast.

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