"We don’t see things as they are, but rather as we are." - Anais Nin
When I was in university I did a joint honours undergrad degree in history and in English. By my fourth year I was down to a mere 10 hours of class in a week and up to a mighty reading list that meant I should have been doing nothing but read - except, of course when I was sitting in the tutorials talking about the reading or writing the 40 page essays that were also about the reading. When I finished university I ran away. I ran away from a very bad relationship, from a very bad friendship, and from the possibility of going back to school again right away. It was too much. I moved to the UK to be a waitress and I did not read properly again for a long, long time. Even then I refused to read anything but SARK and escapist fiction. When I started again it was like taking a deep breath of country air after a weekend in the city. I finally remembered what it was like reading for pleasure.
When I found this poem I immediately scribbled it down in one of my notebooks. I loved it. I loved the line in it about people swallowing poetry whole. That's how I want to read now. I enjoy talking about things I am reading; I enjoy the way that an author has written, but I am no longer reading in sections so that I can pull out all of the nuances of a chapter. Instead I am now enjoying books and poetry in great gasping gulps. I can't get enough. I have just finished Joanne Harris' new book in under two days of reading. I closed the book feeling spent and slightly wrung out, but filled up with my immersion in the story. I am thrilled once again to just be loving writing for what it is. I can feel it again. I am back to my old self.
This poem is dangerous: It should not be left
Within the reach of children, or even of adults
Who might swallow it whole, with possibly
Undesirable side effects. If you come across
An unattended, unidentified poem
In a public place, do not attempt to tackle it
Yourself. Send it (preferably in a sealed container)
To the nearest centre of learning, where it will be rendered
Harmless, by experts. Even the simplest poem
May destroy your immunity to human emotions.
All poems must carry a government warning. Words
Can seriously affect your heart.