From a Writer’s Chronicle article by the poet Reginald Shepherd (4/10/63 – 9/10/08):
A destination is also an end but, as Nietzsche wrote, the end of a melody is not its goal. Too often understanding is the prize you get after you have consumed the poem. Now that you have taken it apart to get the decoder ring, you’re done with the poem—you can throw it away. I don’t see poems as things I want to get over with, any more than I see life as something I want to get over with. The end of life is death, and we start dying from the minute we’re born. But, as William Carlos Williams pointed out, on the road to the contagious hospital there are muddy fields full of new growth if we just take the time to look closely. We will get down that road soon enough. Death is contagious, people are always catching it; the time we don’t take will be taken from us. There is no need to hurry oneself along.
The complete essay can be found on John Gallaher’s blog: http://jjgallaher.blogspot.com/