There Once Was a Dog From Newfoundland …
I believe there’s a connection between the state poet laureate and official state symbols — and someone else agrees! Writing in the Suburban Journals, Charles Mosley remarks that the governor honors animals and plants by designating them as official symbols, and that he likewise honors poets by conferring the title of poet laureate on them.
Mosley writes that these honors do less damage than other actions that elected officials could take. I agree that symbols and laureates don’t mess up the economy like some policies do, but the attitude they engender can still be harmful. We shouldn’t look to the state for approval of our accomplishments and opinions, nor should we ask the state to validate our favorite natural phenomena. If we give too much credence to state recognition, we may allow honor-seeking to distract us from more productive endeavors.
I recommend reading Mosley’s essay in full, especially his poem about sneezing. Even if it doesn’t inspire you to sympathy with ragweed sufferers, you’ll certainly come away with a greater sense of reverence for the English language.