A poem by Thomas Graves, inspired by Robert Ritzenthaler’s “The Jungles of Tiritipa“
Literature exists, because reconciliation is sweet
In imagination’s heaven—even as the hellish school boy squirms in his seat.
Literature exists, and we know literature well:
The boring parts of heaven, the exciting parts of hell.
Literature exists, resting on shelves everywhere,
Literature dreams for you, even if you don’t care.
You know why literature is covered in school and hidden:
It’s never just life. It’s always life that is forbidden.
Literature is always about the sorrow that never gets said.
But literature becomes a critic being really boring, instead.
Literature should be this poem and don’t worry,
I will tell you I’m sorry. I’m sorry, I’m really sorry.
Literature is putting together the boy and his dad
Who never got together—isn’t that sad?
Literature is that novel which had some tragic deaths at the end
We didn’t finish. The one who gave it to me I swear was only a friend.
Literature is the foreshadowing, the metaphor, the clue
Which we don’t see. Or, maybe I did see it. Is that okay with you?