Against Poetry

If you had a choice, be a poet or not,
I’d suggest prose for the lines that you jot.
It’s more handy by far for your everyday mots—
When your grocery list rhymes, there’s an orange you’ve forgot.

With prose, by contrast, you can use any word,
From “kiwi” to “wheat germ” and beef by the herd.
You can buy cottage cheese, both large and small curd.
Either game hen or chicken, it’s your choice of bird.

If I were you, when I reached the dry cleaner,
I’d avoid villanelles, and not be a rhyme schemer.
Don’t stand there tapping out meter on your femur
Or the other patrons will quickly grow meaner.

And when in due course, you reach the gas station,
Don’t order in rhyme, or you’ll cause much vexation.
You’ll find that you won’t be too welcome or feted
If you strive for a rhyme when you order unleaded.

No, the best thing to do for your everyday poet
Is to swallow your pride, and don’t let others know it.
If you’ve talent for verse there’s no need to show it.
I’m behind you in line, so use prose and don’t blow it.


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