Poetry Month Celebration Day 20

At work, in the bookstore, I organized several events for National Poetry Month. We held four readings, one each Thursday, allowing local poets to feature their work. The month culminated in a (not quite but it was what I was hoping for) big open mic today. As mentioned, not as many people showed up as I hoped, but poet Frank Judge, of Rochester Poets, gave a great address on the history, nature, and importance of poetry. This poem was inspired by that address. I hope he is honored by the title.

Judgeonium

“Prose is a light element,
and poetry a heavy element.”

The words,
more or less,
I heard today,
and nothing could be more true.

Poetry is uranium,
waiting to decay,
to create a powerful reaction,
to light our world,
or to burn our illusions away
in a radioactive blast.

Verse,
dense and complex,
can power x-ray machines
that expose every broken bone
of our psyche,
or show where the scars have healed
leaving a new look,
and a new person.

Meter ticked off by the atomic clock
of syllables
in eerie precision
despite the apparent chaos
inherent in the mechanism,
providing navigation,
and all the cues
on how to feel and when.

You have to handle it carefully though.
Too much can make you sick,
or poison your relationships.
It can fry your brain
if you let it,
leaving you a mess of metaphor
and hyperbole.

Worth the risk:
this ancient endeavor,
this unstable element
in our language,
in our history,
and in our journey
to self knowledge
and gratification.

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