The prompt: Binding judgment. Does it ever make sense to judge a book by its cover—literally or metaphorically? Tell us about a time you did and whether that was a good decision or not.
Duck for Cover
Life’s a library where we choose
book after book to read and muse
on the truth of each, or how it serves
to amuse us or to calm our nerves.
It starts with storybooks in our youth.
Cinderella’s lovely, her kin uncouth.
The pretty sister we all adore.
The others? Rotten to the core.
We judge by beauty evermore.
As teenagers, our thoughts are filled
with thoughts of hair, complexion, build—
the ways we rank and choose our friends.
For some, this method never ends.
We judge the world by what we see.
At court, the prettiest are set free.
Our dates determined by their cars,
Our peanut butters by their jars,
Our candidates are movie stars.
World is illusion, say the seers,
the thinkers and philosophers.
We cannot know reality
by going just by what we see.
Yet time and time again, we choose
our futures based upon our views.
The “curb appeal” that meets our eye
determines which house we will buy.
The crust is how we choose the pie.
Ted Bundy had a handsome face
that drew young ladies to his embrace.
An arm sling or perhaps a crutch
brought them into his murderous clutch.
His handsomeness served to distract
till he’d performed his heinous act.
His cover perfect, his act most skilled,
he killed and killed and killed and killed—
lives ruined and ended as he willed.
Crack the book and look inside.
Talk before you choose your bride.
Drive the car before you buy.
Sip the wine and taste the pie.
See what’s inside if you are able.
Don’t go by face or box or label.
Though beauty dulled is less sublime,
scrub the tarnish from the dime.
Looking deeper takes more time.
Don’t choose the cover of a book.
Instead, take care to have a look.
One page nor twenty will not do.
You have the whole book left to view.
Avoid appearances and preening.
Look for truth and look for meaning.
George Eliot coined the adage first.
If for truth you have a thirst,
judging by the cover’s worst.