Quarter after one. I rested for a while, caught a few winks. Aesop and I are both getting older. Nothing to do but stick it out and rejoice that things are not worse. Does life really work out for the best, in Panglossian fashion? But this still requires the precept of a final cause pulling us along, and teleology would be hard to prove. The evidence doesn’t support it. Causation is sequential, one thing leading to the next. How can we conceive of a purpose stringing us behind it? What can put that aim there? It is merely our imagination. I don’t think nature conforms to human wishes, as if life resembled a dream— or the freshest comedy Shakespeare could create. But the springtime may see a change in our perspective, a rejuvenation of faith in beauty and health. So that life and dreaming will be one and the same again, in accordance with instinct. The wholeness of experience, the union of the mind and heart, once again will prevail, restoring every living thing. This shadowy existence will be filled with color and form. It’s all a matter of feeling— and piercing to the root the icy winter in our soul. It is the principality of poetry to divide night from day. The word poetry expresses more than the word music or art. It means something more sublime and transcendent, a thing wholly humanizing. It affirms life, it marries together words and music, logic and feeling. Poetry is the essence of a beautiful dream. It is the ideal, the Platonic Form, the perfection of the beautiful and true. It is our vehicle to heaven, to Olympus, to the singing of the spheres in eternity—
2 thoughts on “On Poetry”
I like your description of what poetry does. At the same time, the difference between poetry and prose broken into lines has always confounded me a bit. I can see the difference clearly in practice–in theory not so much. I probably shouldn’t have chickened out when I had an opportunity to take a poetry workshop with Charles Simic in grad school.
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About line endings, there are end stopped lines, which come to a full stop. Otherwise, the words you want to stress should be placed at the end of a line, not at the beginning.
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