Meta poems too

by | Thursday, August 15, 2019

Layout is the first to go

Lines of poetry are sacred to both the author and the reader. To alter the specific construction in line length is to alter the look and rhythm of the poem. However, as ebooks and eReading devices have become more prevalent, readers have come to expect certain functionality, including the ability to resize the type in order to make it more legible… This may cause unintended line breaks to occur within the poems. — Billy Collins in a note to the reader in his ebook: The Rain in Portugal 

Layout is the first to go
That extra space 
between the lines

Calibrated

For the meaningful pause
Or maybe just for how 
it looks on the page

Gone. 

That little tab 
Pushing in the words
Of the fourth line
   Just the right amount

Gone as well. 

This is the price we pay
For going the digital way
Ceding the power of font
And design 
To the screen’s mighty sway.

And you pay too 
Dear reader
Limited as you are
In what you know
And what the interface
Lets you see.

Is there a metaphor here
One wonders
To be exploited 
The mind probes
(As a tongue does
A chipped tooth
Or a finger testing
a scab)
Seeking, a bigger story
maybe, about technology.
And the meanings we make. 
With choices that aren’t choices
Really. 

Weighing the gain, potential
Against loss, a certainty.
But maybe it is
Just how things are
And need to be 
If we are, today, 
To read 
poetry. 

*****

Bonus Content 

FYI: A flight of fancy if poems had post-credit bonus scenes (as in the movies).

This poem comes

(Yes!)

With bonus content

Which you can see 

If you are patient

Not wishing

To leave early. 

Hold on to your, 

Now warm, drink

And stale popcorn

Tuck in your knees

To let people leave 

Ones clearly not 

As committed 

As you and me. 

The credits roll

And you marvel

At all the people 

It took

– More than a village

Apparently – 

To make this poem

More than its intent.

And then finally

There it is…

The bonus content. 

Though truth be told

The bonus stuff, 

was oversold.

The offerings 

They were meager 

Even for us, 

Ones who were eager 

All it did 

Was make us wait

For the next poem, 

And ponder its fate. 

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