Weekly Whack: Poetry is Bunk
Poetry is Bunk
September 15, 1997

Poetry is bunk. Yep, you heard me correctly, poetry is bunk. If you disagree with me and like poetry, then I don't think you deserve to read this. I didn't write this for a bunch of poetry loving freaks, so please stop reading now. Go do a crossword puzzle instead. Now if you do agree with me, I don't believe you. I think you are just saying you agree with me because you want to gain my acceptance. You're a spineless sheep who would agree with anything I said, and so I don't think you deserve to read this either. Go do a crossword puzzle with the poetry freaks. Work together, you may get it done faster. You'd be surprised what a little team work can do.

Ok now that I don't have anymore readers I feel a whole lot better, more at ease. I get nervous when people read what I write. My palms sweat, my left eye starts twitching, and I start stuttering. But now since nobody is reading this, I feel very relaxed. I could write whatever I want without worrying. For example: I once downloaded nude pictures of Mayim Bialik, formerly of the hit sitcom Blossom. See, would I have written that if I thought anybody was reading this? Of course not.

I don't have to worry though, I can be blunt, frank, free, and just write whatever is on my mind, and say exactly what I mean. I think that's cool, I think that's how all writing should be. Unfortunately there is poetry.

Once again, poetry is bunk. Poetry is just meaning hidden behind a lot of words, metaphors, and stuff like that. If you have something important to say, just say it. There's no need for the extra crap. Poets are like bad chefs who need a whole bunch of spices to make their food taste good. Sometimes they use so many spices that you don't even know what you're eating. Kind of like at the Commons. It looks like chicken, it tastes like chicken, but the jokes on you, it's pork. Reading a poem is the same way. You think it's a tree, it looks like a tree, but the joke is on you, it's a phallus. That's some joke if you ask me. But that's why you have all these English courses here where all you do is spend over an hour trying to figure out what a few lines of poetry means. And by the end of class you have fifteen different possible meanings, and you end up more confused than when you started. That's because poems are too ambiguous. You'd have better luck taking a philosophy course and trying to figure out the meaning of life. Life may have a meaning, poems don't. To help illustrate my point, I will now write a poem, and try to figure out its meaning. It's called the sesame bagel.
A flower grew in the summer.
In winter it was dead.
Next summer another flower grew.
In winter it was dead.
The summer after that, another flower grew.
In autumn a dog ate that flower and died of
The following summer another flower grew,
But the dog was still dead.
He should have eaten a sesame bagel instead.

First let's jump right into the poem by discussing the rhyme scheme. The word dead was used to rhyme with the word dead, then the word dead again, and then the word instead to throw things off a bit. The word grew was used to rhyme with grew, and then grew again. However in the beginning and middle of the poem, the words summer and poisoning are not rhymed with anything, they are just kind of left hanging there by themselves. I think this erratic sort of rhyme scheme is used to mirror the erratic nature of life itself. Sometimes in life everything can't be tied together nicely. There are times when things are just left hanging.

Next it would be good to discuss the use of seasons in the poem. The seasons mentioned are summer, winter, and autumn. Summer is a time of life, and winter is a time of death. Autumn is an in-between season where life turns to death. Hence in summer the flower is alive, but in winter it is dead. Likewise it is in autumn that the dog dies. However at the end of the poem it is summer and the dog is still dead. This sends a strong message that death is final. Although it is a time a life (i.e. the new flower growing) the dog still remains dead.

Now would be a good time to discuss a major theme of the poem, the cyclic nature of life. Things are constantly dying and being born. It's like a big cycle. The poems starts with birth, goes to death, returns to life, goes back to death, once again returns to life, then death, and then ends with both death and life to show that there are numerous death-life cycles going on, and they are constantly overlapping each other. Now the whole idea of a cycle brings in mind the image of a circle. Cycles move in a circle. This brings us to the bagel. Bagels are shaped like a circle. Thus the bagel is more than just a bagel, but a representation of the death-life cycle.

Finally I think the last line of the poem should be discussed. The lasts line of the poem reads, "He [the dog] should have eaten a sesame bagel instead." This implies that the dog had some control over his fate, and that it was his choices in life that caused his death. This brings certain existential overtones to the poem. The dog had to power to choose his own existence, to choose his own fate. The poet tosses aside all notions of predeterminism. It wasn't fate that made the dog eat the flower and die, it was his own decision. To a greater sense we all face the proverbial choice between the flower and the bagel, and it is our responsibility to make the right decision in life. Now the reason why the bagel had to be a sesame one is unclear and probably just some facet of the poet's genius that can't be understood by a reader of inferior intelligence.

Well I better stop there, although I could probably go on for pages analyzing this poem. I didn't even look at it with a feminist, historical, biographical, or psychological point of view. But I think you understand my point. I had absolutely nothing in mind when I wrote that poem. However when you look at it closer, it becomes a real thought-provoking, deep piece of literature. Thus when you are dealing with something as abstract as poetry, you can make whatever you want out of it. So to wrap things up nicely, poetry is bunk, sesame bagels go good with cream cheese, and you're not even supposed to be reading this.