15 15In the area of songs, he or she is greatest who contributes the greatest original practical example,For it is not for what I have put into it that I have written this book,Nor is it by reading you will acquire it,Oxen that rattle the yoke and chain or halt in the leafy shade, what is that you express in your eyes?It seems to me more than all the print I have read in my life,Discovering to-day there is no lie or form of lie.I know not whether I shall be understood, but I realize that it is finally from what I learn'd personally mixing in such scenes that I am now penning these pages.I cannot tell how my ankles bend, nor whence the cause of my faintest wish,And I will not strip the clothes from my body to meet my lover the sea,But Fro
14 14In America they ask: who am I? Am I by natureviolent?Am I basically anti-intellectual?Am I condemned to go on destroying westward?Canadians do not ask who they are. They ask, rather,if they are.
13 13A strange hand writes of the divine power to speak words.It is time to explain myselflet us stand up.What is known I strip away,I launch all men and women forward with me into the Unknown.In poems or in speeches I say the word or two that has got to be said,Such words, as of voices ecstatic, ancient and rustling,There is a moral purpose, a visible or invisible intention, certainly underlying all,The scene and all its belongings, how they seize and affect me,Do you suppose to find in me your ideal?A great poem is no finish to a man or woman but rather a beginning.Who is he that would become my follower?I alone would expect to be your sole and exclusive standard,Such themesequalities! O divine average!Let the paper remain on the desk unwritten, and the book on the shelf unopen'
12 12Whoever you are, I fear you are walking the walks of dreams.The minute hand of the clock moves slowly,While the world of gain and appearance and mirth goes on,So soon what is over forgottenThere is nothing but immortality!I see in you, certain to come, the promise of thousands of years, till now deferr'd,To think of timeof all that retrospection,To think of to-day, and the ages continued henceforward,The curious years each emerging from that which preceded it,(Twenty-eight years of womanly life and all so lonesome,)At last the New arriving, assuming, taking possession,I know I have the best of time and space.In you I wrap a thousand onward years!You give me forever faces, to walk in the space betweenThe blood of the brawn beloved of time.But in silence, in dreams proj
11 11Stop this day and night with me and you shall possess the origin of all poems,For every atom belonging to me as good belongs to you,And the whole theory of the universe is directed unerringly to one single individual.All this time and at all times wait the words of true poems,The real poems,Tallying and talk'd to here by tongues aromatic (so many uttering tongues!)That scorn the best I can do to relate them.The words of true poems do not merely please,The words of true poems are the tuft and final applause of science,They do not seek beauty, they are sought.The true poets are not followers of beauty but the august masters of beauty.Here is what moves in magnificent masses careless of particulars,The past, the future, majesty, loveif th
10 10Poetry is a variety of knowledge,And the poet exercises his poetic faculties not to create beauty but to recover and propagate wisdom,Because he believes poetry to be in harmony with the underlying structure of the universe,For it details in concrete imagery the objects and sensations experienced by an ecstatic observer of the physical world.The greatest poet has almost pathological sympathy, enabling him to convey vicarious experience with remarkable intensity,But the one is painted on a mile-long canvasAnd the other one on the gossamer thread of a spider.
9 9See revolving the globe,See vast trackless spaces,See a gray discouraged sky overhead, the short last daylight of December,See, in my poems, cities, solid, vast, inland, with paved streets, with iron and stone edifices, ceaseless vehicles, and commerce,See wild red and yellow light over the tops of houses falling down into the clefts of streets,See the youth who lies awake in the cedar roof'd garret and harks to the musical rain,See the village on the highland from afar at sunset, the river between,Alone, far in the wilds and mountains, I hunt,Wandering amazed at my own lightness and glee,Floating so buoyant with milk-white foam on the waters,I reach to the leafy lips,Of earth, rocks, Fifth-month flowers exp
8 8O shades of night in fantasy unreal,My words itch at your ears till you understand them.(If they are not the riddle and the untying of the riddle they are nothing.)Re-examine all you have been told at school or church or in any book:The words of the singers are the hours or minutes of the light or dark, but the words of the maker of poems are the general light and dark.The daylight is lit with more volatile light,The mystic play of shadows twining and twisting as if they were alive,Ever in darkness marching on,I am he that walks with the tender and growing night.Have you no thought O dreamer that it may be all maya, illusion?The universe is a procession with measured and perfect motion,An unminded point set in a vast surrounding,Voices the threads