The Generosity of Poems
Throughout all times poets have been charged
with trying to fix in special words
fateful human events worthy of remembrance,
like solemn chroniclers,
so that young and old could learn them
by heart and sing them in sorrow
to the glory and betterment of all generations. And
yet, poets have always exulted
and mixed their sacred duty to history
with an unbounded lust for the play of the elements.
They’ve written their poems, just as rain and snow
fulfill their duty in nature,
and like the careful sower sows the
upturned earth in fall and reaps in summer.
At this moment I feel a special generosity.
It is fed by all that was
and still remains in human worship,
surpassing my recall and mingling with everything
alive in man’s community and the imagination.
Now I sense as never before that
a poem is the combined force of all human
talents, and that its exemplariness
derives from the abundance of language.