“You hate poetry? Really?”
I drop my jaw, amazed.
They nod, dropping their eyes
Perhaps, just a little, in shame
As if I were a Baptist minister
Asking atheists about Easter.
“Come on, tell me the title of
Just one poem that has touched you
Personally, that has made
a difference in your life.”
But I might as well have suggested
They tell me God’s middle name.
“Sorry,” they say, “but I haven’t
Read a poem since high school.”
I say, “Tell me one of those, then.
One that has stayed with you
Over the years and affected the way
You interact with the cosmos.”
At that, they just look at me,
Dropping their own jaws, amazed.
Is it possible that is actually how
I see poetry, as a cosmic wonder?
Something that connects our minds
To the essential powers of the universe?
I smile, encouragingly, and ask again,
“Come on, just one little poem.
It doesn’t matter where you read it
Or why you like it – whatever! –
Just tell me your favorite poem.
Come on, just one. I dare you.”