First, in the sense that it is made, that it is an act of poiesis (Ancient Greek for making, the root of the word poetry). Occasionally justice can be achieved spontaneously or coincidentally, but the same is true of poetry.

Second, in the sense that it expresses some of the finer human motivations: proportionality, legacy, deep engagement and so on.

Third, in the sense that it can be well done, or badly, and that the difference lies substantially in how well it attains those qualities.

Fourth, making it is of less value if it is never shared. Some is private, on the smallest of interpersonal scales, but both private poetry and private justice can enrich the lives of others even if it was never intended for them.

Fifth, that good work incorporates or accounts for as much of its subject as possible, without extraneity. The traditional sense of poetic justice encompasses this idea, that the punishment or reward each person receives is the perfect response to their actions. Even now, good justice is one that responds adequately to people’s actions, allows for the various factors at work, and combines both a reply to past behaviour and a sense of future impact in its response.

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