This is the first Love’s Sonnet sonnet to have contemporary (ish) quotes: “Greed is good” and “Loadsa money”. Both lines were intended to criticise the greed culture of the 1980s: both ended up being the celebrated catchphrases of those they intended to lambast.
The problem with trying to impose a moral perspective, is that those who are “ardent” believers of the opposite position will use their “hardened shell” to protect themselves from criticism.
In this sonnet, I acknowledge that, if I wanted to, my attempts to criticise greed would be far less effective than those of much greater “writers”. In fact, even stood on someone’s “shoulders”, a placard held by me would not be seen above the metaphorical “shoes” of such writers. I therefore, at the end, advise critics to stop sounding warnings. But, between you and me, I hope acknowledging it is the responsibility of the individual to recognise and manage their own greed, might be the more effective strategy for affecting change.
Greed That “Greed is good” was meant to be critique And “Loadsa money” written to repel; But direct lines can quickly turn oblique When they impact an ardent’s hardened shell. Beware the unintended consequence Of cautions hung to terrify the soul; All Dickens’ ghouls, regardless of their tense Were clear in message, consequence and goal. If I stood on the shoulders of my muse With placard calling for greed to be ‘STOPPED!’ My message would not rise above the shoes Of mighty writers whose warnings have flopped. Consumers won’t be told consumption’s wrong So critics: mute the bell and melt the gong.