Mae Scanlan: Pro Palaver

They say that flattery is insincere,
And those who use it do so with a sneer,
Or else, at best, the mildest condescension,
Detectable, but not enough to mention.
"Flattery will get you nowhere," preach
The experts. Place it far beyond your reach."
I beg to differ. Flattery done right
Is apt to make the day a bit more bright
For the receiver. What's the fault with that?
"You're looking awf'ly well" beats "Ugh, you're fat."
"Your new home's truly smashing" has to trump
"You wouldn't catch me living in this dump."
Put flattery upon a larger page
And chances are you'll mitigate the rage.
I like to think that flattery done properly
Might have forestalled the Battle of Thermopylae.
A word of fluff, administered judiciously,
A bit of blarney, offered up deliciously,
Just where's the wrong? Such harmless bells and whistles
Are far more preferable to bombs and missiles.
So don't eschew those hackneyed, honeyed phrases;
Enjoy the smiles some well-wrought bunkum raises.
Harsh words can bring about assault and battery,
But no one bleeds from simple beads of flattery.