August 13, 2009

True or False

A poem by John Ciardi

Real emeralds are worth more than synthetics
but the only way to tell one from the other
is to heat them to a stated temperature,
then tap. When it’s done properly
the real one shatters.

I have no emeralds.
I was told this about them by a woman
who said someone had told her. True or false,
I have held my own palmful of bright breakage
from a truth too late. I know the principle.

Some 20 years ago when I first read this my only conscious thought was the true or false question. Not until some time later did I realize that it didn’t matter because I have no emeralds either. I believe this poem is one of the things that has helped me to treat those I love as best I can so I never again have to confront a palmful of bright breakage

Posted August 13, 2009

1 Comment

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