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MacQueen’s Quinterly: Knock-your-socks-off Art and Literature
Issue 12: March 2022
Poem: 166 words
By Joan Penn

Thou Art an Ass!

Yes, yes, I heard what you said, 
but how to respond? That is the question. 
I take no offense at the sentiment expressed, 
since you spoke with Elizabethan eloquence. 

But I’m much more accustomed to being assaulted 
with four-letter words. Thus, permit me to question 
the intention behind your impassioned suggestion. 
Are you implying that I resemble a benign beast 

of burden? Are you inferring that 
it’s time for me to be put out to pasture? 
Are you dismissing what I have to say 
as nothing more than a donkey’s bray? 

Or are you alluding to my stubbornness? 
Perhaps something I said made you think 
of a biblical passage? Oh, it’s inspiring 
to be insulted in such an erudite fashion. 

It softens the blow. Thou art an ass 
sounds genteel to 21st Century ears, 
thus, shall we resume conversing 
in Shakespearean style, 

this time arousing less passion? 
Shall we address one another, 
mindful of the admonition, 
All’s well that ends well? 


Joan Penn
Issue 12, March 2022

lives in NYC and has a professional background in theater and photography. She has attended workshops with poets Jeanne Marie Beaumont, Scott Hightower, and Jessica Greenbaum, and is currently participating in a virtual workshop with Paris-based Gracie Bialecki. She is also a member of The Yorkville Writing Circle. Recent publication credits include poems in Griffel, High Shelf Press, The Rose in the World, and in two anthologies published by Moonstone Arts Press. One of her poems was included in a recent theatrical presentation, “Superheroes & Other Men.”

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