What’s the value of poetry?

Ah, that primal instinct to put a price tag on everything. As a product on painted, plastic shelves with curved edges that emit fringes of varnish smell from last year’s spring cleaning, and yet, not quite strong enough to mask the sweat of high-vis employees who’ve rested many a heavy heads and brushed uniformed shoulders against.

As if what doesn’t give material back doesn’t warrant time or effort. As though without return on investment—solid pieces of paper and clinking disks you can trade for something else, you shouldn’t bother at all. For what brings you only joy strips away precious time you can manage in other ways. Creeping seconds on a grandmother clock, hands inching from a number to another—time, that you can do more things with, other things. Time, that you can manage efficiently, effectively in order to make something of it, of yourself, of your time on this what’s left of this round, blue pool that’s melting away in its own time.

As if poetry is another supermarket commodity. As if you can valuate bliss. 


Note: I was at a poetry festival, and the value of poetry was one of the panel discussions. This is my response, inspired by intriguing opinions. 

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