Merely Reading - Poem by Suzanne Hayasaki
I don't read a book.
I fall into league with it,
Or fight the writer,
Kicking and screaming,
Until she changes her ways
Or I decide to stay
Or put the book aside
For some later stage in my life
When I might see it in a new light
Or with an older, wiser mind.
There is no objective scale of greatness.
Each writer offers up what comes to them.
Each reader greedily takes in some
And petulantly rejects the rest.
Times and tastes change.
Today's lauded authors
Will fade from print.
Others will rise from their deaths
To be remembered for centuries.
So I will read what I like.
If the first words are promising,
If the cadence is pleasing,
If the opening scene leads me to believe
That I will be happy between these pages,
I will settle in without a thought
To the themes or the structure of the plot.
Those things matter,
As do gravity and mass,
And yet we do not calculate as we walk
Or investigate as we sing or play.
We do not evaluate what our children say.
We simply live within the experience,
Letting these forces hold sway.
So pick out, if you will, the symbolism.
Analyze, if you like, the style.
Go on in prosaic praise of greatness
Where it may or may not exist.
And leave me to merely read.
Leave me to live within the book
As its friend or its enemy
Until it ends or I desert it
For a rival with an inviting title.
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