I’m sure I’m capable of softer tone,
and I can phrase more gently now than then,
for strident only works when I’m alone
(if ever strident works). I learn again
and wonder how much more I have to teach
my stubborn self imprinted and engraved.
By now I must be smart enough to reach
beyond the ways my family behaved.

The vinegar I’ll use before the mead,
though I don’t aim to capture bees or flies
so adages are lessons I don’t need.
I mean to be refined until I’m wise,
by using tone and making soft my choice,
by modulating attitude and voice.

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