In a freezing attic somewhere in Prague

a hungry songwriter invents Sincerity, but alas,

too early. A decade later, a popular singer,

struck by the intimacy a microphone fakes,

invents a way of sobbing in time to the music —

earnest little hearts are wrecked

from San José to Surbiton. The angelic

choirs, should they be tempted to rebel,


would they hit on a trick so lucrative? Clouds

of butterflies reassure us: we are so much more

serious, and intelligent — think of rockets, and

the invention of dentistry and napalm. Sincerity?

It will take a Poet Laureate to turn it to profitable use.

Bats circle the Old City, low and silent.