Be warned, poetry has its downsides and its wild sides. It may seem innocent enough, but like a calm ocean, it can produce sneaker waves you’ll never see coming. Of course, some poetry instantly puts us off because of its ambiguity or paradoxically because of its offending clarity. These poems are easy to spot however, so you can simply skip over them. Dangerous poems are much more stealth. They are dangerous, not because they do not work, but because they work so well. For example…
1. Great poetry gives an immediate boost, however it can make you feel separate at times, in that it will have changed you but other (non poetry readers) around you will be the same. You’ll grieve knowing they’re missing out on poetic search and rescue tools for their own heart and soul. You’ll notice even more how they slog along, wasting precious time on longwinded, boring prose. Your motto will become: Be brief. Be good. Be gone.
2. Great poetry will turn you into an incessant trouble maker who no longer believes what others say just because they say it. You’ll become so good at understanding metaphors that you’ll stop accepting the ones that others try to sneak by you. (Argument is war, Time is money, Bigger is better / up / progress)
3. People will think you’ve gone all airy-fairy and high-brow on them, even though you’ll secretly know great poems are plain, wise and bone practical tools.
4. Suffering through cliches and jargon will be impossible. Terms like: paradigm shifts, low-hanging fruit, and moving the needle will become insufferable. You may even offend others at times by pointing these stinkers out.
5. Soon you’ll become addicted to poetry, especially being surprised and satisfied by one ah-ha moment after another. You’ll grow more innovative and creative, picking out new patterns that others have yet to see. In fact your good ideas will become so numerous and fresh that you’ll need to hide some of them from others due to the jealousy.
6. In public you’ll feel awkward, hiding newly acquired books of poetry, placing them stealthily inside other books, newspapers, and magazines. In bookstores and libraries, you’ll glance around before ducking into the poetry aisle to discover new poets.
7. If you persist in reading great poetry, you may start writing your own poems which will make you a better more expressive, brief and effective speaker and writer in general. But then as you spend time having more fun than other people, they may notice and will become even more jealous or mad. You could loose friends.
8. Constantly being influenced (a.k.a., pickled) by all that finely crafted language, including metaphors and amazing imagery you’ll potentially alarm others with your new level of calm and centeredness. You could lose even more friends.
9. You’ll be more present and connected to yourself and others. You will feel your emotions more fully. This will include the amazing, joyful and beautiful parts of life but also the losses, hurts, and at times despair. Secretly, you and life will make this bargain.
Final Caution: So if you’re hard to scare and a risk taker, you’re likely going to ignore all these warnings and cast about for some great poetry. You may want to check out other entries here on my blog that feature poetry, stories and my own forays into attempted wisdom. But remember this. You’ve been warned…