Merriam Webster online has this to say:

"An outcome in which vice is punished and virtue rewarded usually in a manner peculiarly or ironically appropriate".

http://www.m-w.com/cgi-bin/dictionary?book=Dictionary&va=poetic+justice

Yeah, "peculiarly or ironically appropriate". Take the scene in The Return of the Jedi where Boba Fett falls into the buried monster's gullet on Tatooine: That is poetic justice, and the only reason we expect it to happen is that poetic justice of that sort ("bad guy hoist by own petard") is a cliché in action movies.

Half the people who talk about "poetic justice" nowadays haven't a clue what it means. You can use the term however you like, of course. You can also say "horse" when you mean "lawnmower". Hell, you can just stand there and grunt, if that's what turns you on. You'll be communicating just as effectively.



The poet sits with his gun in hand and with the critic bound and scared
Read this read that and read the other and your life will sure be spared
The critic winces at the words that are penned upon the pages
They’re the ravings of a lunatic not the wisdom of the sages!

The poet levels the pistol between the critic’s eyes
Who are you to grade my work, it’s you whom I despise!
The critic blinks and then opens wide and speaks the dreaded truth
Your work is childish, your words unkind and your thoughts are too uncouth.

A spray of red and a dash of brains is splattered against the wall
Whose life did go and whose life remains is a mystery to us all
The poet needs the critic and the opposite holds true
What happened in that room that day is up to me and you.

So shoot me…

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