Staying Alive

I never read about
a person dying
from reading Herman Melville.

A great many high school students
dawdled through New England life in Moby Dick.

A great many men died
fighting the American Civil War—
though more from disease than combat.

Grant would have been happy to have kept them alive
and not to have written his best selling memoir.

None of you have ever died
from reading a typo or misprint
in a newspaper or magazine—

even the nudie magazines
whose printed articles rarely interest their purchasers.

Think of all the lives saved
if King George the Third
opened Parliament up to the colonials.

But that would mean Hamilton
would never have been written by Lin-Manuel Miranda.

copyright © 2022 Kenneth P. Gurney

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