Why Poetry Leads to Tragedy

Being perfectly honest, I hate poetry.  I am never happier with Elizabeth Bennet when she starts talking about how poetry can absolutely kill a fledgling love.  Why is this?

Poetry signifies DEEP thought.  Perhaps too deep of thought.  When one lulls too long on petty details like the exact number of syllables in a sentence, one is inevitably caring too much about trivialities.  Had Shakespeare written “Would not a Lilly by any other name not smell as sweet?”  I’m sure Romeo and Juliet would still have become a hit.  When someone focuses too much on one little thing they inevitably start to realize the flaws in something, which inevitably leads to their lulling on said flaws and coming to despise those flaws more than they love the hundred other perfections.

You might say that this is taking things a little too far, and you could be right.  I’ve never been one to enjoy things that I don’t understand (a human failing/ flaw of my own) and I have very little patience for unwarranted tragedy, which seems to be the focus of much of poetry.  I believe there is quite likely a direct correlation between reading too much poetry and coming to a tragic end.  Poetry dwells on emotion and emotion, like most things, is best for you in moderation.  Many tragedies, particularly in fiction, could be avoided with a simply application of common sense and communication, both very rare qualities in poetry.

Having mentioned my distaste for the subject in general, there are exceptions.  Most of these exceptions I believe occur because of a lack of serious and tragic thought involved in the writing of it.

Examples of acceptable poetry:

Anything that flows so sweetly that it moves you like a ship drifting on a quiet sea, like this:


Lesbia, you ask how many kisses of yours

would be enough and more to satisfy me.

As many as the grains of Libyan sand

that lie between hot Jupiter’s oracle,

at Ammon, in resin-producing Cyrene,

and old Battiades sacred tomb:

or as many as the stars, when night is still,

gazing down on secret human desires



Some say the world will end in fire,

Some say in ice.

From what I’ve tasted of desire

I hold with those who favor fire.

But if it had to perish twice,

I think I know enough of hate

To say that for destruction ice

Is also great

And would suffice.

–Robert Frost

Examples of unacceptable poetry:

Basically anything in Romeo and Juliette, anything written less then fifty years ago, anything without punctuation, and anything that uses the words: gash, gaping, crouch, squat, uninhibited, and gouge.  Anything that makes you long to rip your own eyes or ears out in anguished repentance that they had consumed said poetry, and anything that makes you squirm in a desire to get away.  If you heard it in a mandatory high school lit class it is probably just a quiet form of torture your English teacher decided to inflict on you as punishment for their own mental angst.   (Unless they made you read Frost, Silverstein, or Byron.  Then they were merciful and you were fortunate.)


I know there are many who would disagree,

and I’m glad that you haven’t been as tormented as me,

but I will stand by my decree:

poetry leads to tragedy.


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