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Explaining Poetry
( / Philippines)

Explaining Poetry

Poem By RIC BASTASA

How can I ever explain poetry?
To a child it would be easy
Eenie minee minee moe
Catch the monkey by the toe

Jack and Jill
Went up the hill
To get a pail of water
Is a poem easily understood by
A child

But to an adult
How can I ever explain poetry?
Can I explain it with a straight
Look in the eye
And I will tell him
Poetry Is looking a person straight in the eye

Yes you have only one more day to live?
Can I explain it to him
Like I have a gun and point it straight to his head
And say
Yes poetry kills and it kills you in a minute
And for free?

Or can I explain poetry to him
Like I am on the tenth floor of this building
And I tell him I am so problematic
And all I have to do is
Jump and kill myself
And he would be there
To tell me
Life is beautiful
There is reason to live
That I am loved
That many people still care
That I have a mission
That I have lots of good things to do
That this world has meaning
That I am the child of this universe
That I am no less than the trees and the stars and that by all means
I have the right to be here

That poetry can save
That poetry is one saving person holding one back to his senses
that poetry is hope, love, kindness
it has no word for hate
it does not kill
or enslave
or annihilate
Poetry is a decision
Not to jump.
That is poetry to me
And as an adult he must understand.

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