“Smart Cookie”

Poetry readership is on the rise as people all over the world turn to poetry during the pandemic for insight, comfort, and hope. Several poems have gone viral including Pandemic by Lynn Ungar and In the Time of Pandemic by Kitty O’Meara. Today’s poem, “Smart Cookie” by Richard Schiffman, offers advice for those days when you open a poem — on this blog or elsewhere — and think, “No thanks, that’s not what I’m looking for today.”

Smart Cookie

(after Wallace Stevens

The fortune that you seek is in another cookie, 
was my fortune. So I’ll be equally frank—the wisdom 
that you covet is in another poem. The life that you desire  
is in a different universe. The cookie you are craving 
is in another jar. The jar is buried somewhere in Tennessee.
Don’t even think of searching for it. If you found that jar,
everything would go kerflooey for a thousand miles around. 
It is the jar of your fate in an alternate reality. Don’t even 
think of living that life. Don’t even think of eating that cookie. 
Be a smart cookie—eat what’s on your plate, not in some jar 
in Tennessee. That’s my wisdom for today, though I know 
it’s not what you were looking for.

Richard Schiffman

Hopefully this poem made you smile even if this wasn’t the wisdom you were looking for today.

Reminder: April 30th is Poem in Your Pocket Day! You can celebrate by selecting a poem, carrying it with you, and sharing it with others throughout the day. Click here for creative ideas on how to celebrate Poem in Your Pocket Day this year. I’ll probably carry “Otherwise” by Jane Kenyon, but I’m still considering options. What poem will you carry?


“Smart Cookie” by Richard Schiffman. First published in Rosebud (date unknown).  Copyrighted material used for educational or therapeutic purposes

Photo credit: When in Manila


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