I found this poem in the library today. Oatmeal by Galway Kinnell – a piece of genius I wish I had written. If I were a genius poet, this would be the kind of poem I would write. This is just about the first third of it. It feels like desecration to not post it in its entirety, so please go GOOGLE IT. Galway Kinnell, I shall atone. There were too many ‘it’s in that sentence. I should read more so I don’t come across as an 8 year old.

I eat oatmeal for breakfast.
I make it on the hot plate and put skimmed milk on it.
I eat it alone.
I am aware it is not good to eat oatmeal alone.
Its consistency is such that is better for your mental health if somebody eats it with you.
That is why I often think up an imaginary companion to have breakfast with.
Possibly it is even worse to eat oatmeal with an imaginary companion.
Nevertheless, yesterday morning, I ate my oatmeal porridge with John Keats.
Keats said I was absolutely right to invite him:
due to its glutinous texture, gluey lumpishness, hint of slime, and unsual willingness to disintigrate,
oatmeal must never be eaten alone.
He said that in his opinion, however, it is perfectly OK to eat it with an imaginary companion,
and that he himself had enjoyed memorable porridges with Edmund Spenser and John Milton.

Today, I tried to be a show-off and preach to my friend about how awesome The Outsiders is. Because it really is. I cried reading it and ever since, or so I say, Nothing Gold Can Stay has been my favourite poem (I’m gonna be studying Robert Frost for in English next year, yay). I must also add that I read it in one sitting and in a few hours, which is saying a lot, given that, I hate to admit it but, I have been reading the same book for 9 months and am still not done. The book is really interesting and I’ve learnt a lot about it so far, it’s even helping me in my understanding of US history which I am studying now, it’s just that I’m pretty sure I have some undiagnosed reading impairment that somehow vanished when I read The Outsiders.

Anyway, back to Nothing Gold Can Stay. It’s not that I can very easily relate to it – I can’t. At least I can’t immediately find anything significant in my life that the poem seems to word so beautifully. So I basically just like it because it is a beautiful bunch of brilliantly worded words (that was a whole lot of alliteration – I am also pretty sure I am a natural poet. I should look into developing this innate talent.)

Anyway anyway anyway, I digress a bit. (That, dear readers,whom I am sure have no compulsion to click the little red dot on the top left of the Safari window, is something I recently learned called “British understatement”.) I brought him the book, and proudly put it forth for him to see. Though the book really is excellent, I must concede that I wanted to tell him about the book partly because I am all about being impressive. I was ready. I was going to be impressive. I was going to be intelligent!! True colours shining through!!

Unfortunately, to my horror, my true colours did not shine through. Within an instant, the facade collapsed. I glanced downward and saw the words printed on the cover.

“Highly Acclaimed Children’s Reading”.

I did not care about the “highly acclaimed”. The last two words stabbed me like a blunt knife. Is my reading the standard of a kid’s??? Do I not know how to appreciate novels of more sophisticated language and deeper content?? YOU MEAN ALL THIS WHILE I HAVE BEEN PREACHING ABOUT THE NOVEL NOT KNOWING THAT PEOPLE PROBABLY READ IT WHEN THEY WERE 10 AND ARE NOW READING ACTUAL CHEEM SHIT?! I have been left in the dust. Woe is me.

Nevertheless, I learnt an important lesson. It is perfectly fine if my favourite book is read by children. I know in my heart that it is a PREMIUM book. And I will be proud of it!!



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