„For it is not metres, but a metre-making argument, that makes a poem – a thought so passionate and alive, that, like the spirit of a plant or an animal, it has an architecture of its own, and adorns nature with a new thing. The thought and the form are equal in the order of time, but in the order of genesis the thought is prior to the form.“
(R.W. Emerson, „Essays And Other Writings“)
As I walked out one evening,
Walking down Bristol Street,
The crowds upon the pavement
Were fields of harvest wheat.
And down by the brimming river
I heard a lover sing
Under an arch of the railway:
’Love has no ending.
’I’ll love you, dear, I’ll love you
Till China and Africa meet,
And the river jumps over the mountain
And the salmon sing in the street,
’I’ll love you till the ocean
Is folded and hung up to dry
And the seven stars go squawking
Like geese about the sky.
’The years shall run like rabbits,
For in my arms I hold
The Flower of the Ages,
And the first love of the world.‘
But all the clocks in the city
Began to whirr and chime:
’O let not Time deceive you,
You cannot conquer Time.
’In the burrows of the Nightmare
Where Justice naked is,
Time watches from the shadow
And coughs when you would kiss.
’In headaches and in worry
Vaguely life leaks away,
And Time will have his fancy
To-morrow or to-day.
’Into many a green valley
Drifts the appalling snow;
Time breaks the threaded dances
And the diver’s brilliant bow.
’O plunge your hands in water,
Plunge them in up to the wrist;
Stare, stare in the basin
And wonder what you’ve missed.
’The glacier knocks in the cupboard,
The desert sighs in the bed,
And the crack in the tea-cup opens
A lane to the land of the dead.
’Where the beggars raffle the banknotes
And the Giant is enchanting to Jack,
And the Lily-white Boy is a Roarer,
And Jill goes down on her back.
’O look, look in the mirror,
O look in your distress:
Life remains a blessing
Although you cannot bless.
’O stand, stand at the window
As the tears scald and start;
You shall love your crooked neighbour
With your crooked heart.‘
It was late, late in the evening,
The lovers they were gone;
The clocks had ceased their chiming,
And the deep river ran on.
„And therein lies the unrecapturable magic of ancient English verse for those who have ears to hear: profound feeling, and poignant vision, filled with the beauty and mortality of the world, are aroused by brief phrases, light touches, short words resounding like harp-strings sharply plucked.“
(J.R.R. Tolkien on translating „Beowulf“; In: The Monsters and the Critics“)
„,There is the Open Secret Society of the Poets. These are they who feel that the universe is one mighty harmony of beauty and joy; and who are continually listening to the rhythms and cadences of the eternal music whose orchestra comprises all things from the shells to the stars, all beings from the worm to the man, all sounds from the voice of the little bird to the voice of the great ocean; and who are able partially to reproduce these rhythms and cadences in the language of man. In all these imitative songs of theirs is a latent undertone, in which the whole infinite harmony of the whole lies furled; and the fine ears catch this undertone, and convey it to the soul, wherein the furled music unfurls to its primordial infinity, expanding with rapturous pulses and agitating with awful thunders this soul which has been skull-bound, so that it is dissolved and borne away beyond consciousness, and becomes as a living wave in a shoreless ocean. If, however, these their poems be read silently in books, instead of being heard chanted by the human voice, then for the eye which has vision an underlight stirs and quickens among the letters which grow translucent and throb with light; and this mysterious splendour entering by the eyes into the soul fills it with spheric illumination, and like the mysterious music swells to infinity, consuming with quick fire all the bounds and dungeon-walls of the soul, dazing it out of consciousness and dissolving it in a shoreless ocean of light.’“
(James Thomson; In: T. Traherne, „Centuries of Meditations“)