Sometimes, a thing crashes through the skull and lodges in the brain with such force it becomes a lifelong interest. Other interests are like a person you see regularly out of circumstance until, one day, you realize you love them.
While I was aware of poetry through school or family for many years, there was a moment in high school when the emotional power of poetry exploded in my head. In one of my high school lit classes we were required to read a poem by Edwin Arlington Robinson called “Richard Cory.” Until the last line it seems a rather pedestrian story about a wealthy man named Richard Cory. He is known for his noble mien and fine manners but otherwise is admired from afar by people where he lives. The last line blows the reader in completely different and shocking trajectory.
Robinson’s poem also encourages us to look past the surface. Throughout history, the “haves” have been an easy, popular target for the “have nots.” Envy often hides behind its pointing finger. Robinson humanizes Richard Cory and helps us connect with those we would be tempted to exile as “other.”
Many readers are no doubt familiar with “Richard Cory.” If you aren’t, take a minute to read it here: https://www.poetryfoundation.org/poems/44982/richard-cory. I just wouldn’t do it right before you entertain guests or have to otherwise carry a sunny disposition 😉