A Second Volume

”By the way,’ the old man said, smiling guiltily. ‘While you were in the park this morning, I took the liberty of borrowing this.’ He reached inside his jacket and drew forth Vilar’s collection of poems.
‘Oh? What did you think of them?’ Vilar asked.
The patriarch frowned, fidgeted and coughed. ‘Ah–‘
‘An honest opinion,’ Vilar said. ‘As I gave this morning.’
“Well, to be frank, two of my sons looked at them with me. And none of us could see any meaning or value in the lot, Vilar. I don’t know where you got the idea that you had any talent for poetry. You really don’t, you know.’
‘I’ve often suspected that myself,’ Vilar said happily. He took the book and fondled it with satisfaction. Already he was envisioning a second volume– a volume that would appear in an edition of one, for his eyes alone.’

‘A Man of Talent’, Robert Silverberg (from The Songs of Summer).

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