Suggestions to a Reader of Poetry                       

            Relax (alright, do your best),
            Shuffle off the crust of the day,
            Move into a quiet space –
            If possible, just the right temperature
            For your preference –
            With interest, expectation, curiosity,
            But not too much

            As you take a poem in hand
            Remember – especially if your write poetry yourself –
            You’re not the only one to have a good idea or
            Coin a pretty turn of phrase,
            Or more

            Give the voices of the poem
            A break:
            After all, they’re only human,
            They can be indecisive and unclear,
            Like you, and they mostly can’t be counted on
            To say exactly what they think they mean

            And about meaning: that’s up to you

            No matter what the poet says,
            In prose no doubt,
            About his poem, or hers

            I saw a seal this morning 
            Lying on the rocks:
            Its eyes were closed,
            The waters of the harbour rippled up and down,
            The seagulls squawked, kids squealed,
            At a distance

            The animal, so sleek, was breathing quietly

            I knew it felt
            The waters and the gulls,
            The tremors of the air and earth

            It was a long way from its haunts,
            So I concluded it had swum here
            On a whim

            Languid and alert it let
            The music of its respite sound
            Before the plunge and journey home
            Or maybe to some other destination

            Aware of danger, nourishment,
            And joy


            Emanuel E. García, 2014