Why You Don’t Read Poetry

Because you think you won’t understand it?
Because it’s always so depressing?
Because it’s egotistical, self-aggrandizing,
and highly impersonal as an art form–
Where is the color? Do you shun it
because you are tired of words
and the apparent dearth of the articles:
a, an, the?
Because it reminds you
of a bad experience in school
or marriage or life?

Maybe you don’t read poetry
because you think it pretentious,
or that it requires too much thought.
Do you think poets depressing?
Does their purple prose make you sick or sleepy?
Perhaps you shy away for the same reason
you turn away from French dining
or libraries or symphonies
or Shakespeare’s other genre.

Did you read the one about Billy’s
dog whose death bed confession
was that dogs can write in heaven?
Or the Frost poem about
fences and neighbors?
Or Bishop’s fish?
Or Basho’s haiku?
As beautiful as golden sunsets
on the aqua shores
of Bali or stunning as
white-capped peaks in the Aleutian
ring of fire.

If you do not read poetry,
you will miss some
of life’s purest moments.
They will miss you.

A poem, like a photograph, can capture the loneliness of the dying tree and longed-for comfort of the summer bloom just below its  sight line.
A poem, like a photograph, can capture the loneliness of the dying tree and longed-for comfort of the summer bloom just below its sight line.
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