All the lessons learned, unlearned; The young, who learned to read, now blind Their eyes with an archaic film; The peasant relapses to a stumbling tune Following the donkey`s bray; These only remember to forget. But somewhere some word presses On the high door of a skull and in some corner Of an irrefrangible eye Some old man memory jumps to a child Spark from the days of energy. And the child hoards it like a bitter toy.
I think continually of those who were truly great . Who, from the womb, remembered the soul 's history Through corridors of light where the hours are suns , Endless and singing. Whose lovely ambition Was that their lips, still touched with fire , Should tell of the spirit clothed from head to foot in song .
In railway halls, on pavements near the traffic, They beg, their eyes made big by empty staring And only measuring Time , like the blank clock. No, I shall weave no tracery of pen-ornament To make them birds upon my singing tree: Time merely drives these lives which do not live As tides push rotten stuff along the shore.
To break out of the chaos of my darkness Into a lucid day is all my will. My words like eyes in night, stare to reach A centre for their light: and my acts thrown To distant places by impatient violence Yet lock together to mould a path of stone Out of my darkness into a lucid day.
The ultimate aim of politics is not politics, but the activities which can be practised within the political framework of the State. Therefore an effective statement of these activities e.g. science , art , religion is in itself a declaration of ultimate aims around which the political means will crystallise ... a society with no values outside of politics is a machine carrying its human cargo, with no purpose in its institutions reflecting their care, eternal aspirations, loneliness, need for love .
Near the snow, near the sun, in the highest fields, See how these names are fêted in the waving grass And by the streamers of the white cloud And whispers of the wind in the listening sky. The names of those who in their lives fought for life, Who wore at their hearts the fire's centre. Born of the sun, they travelled a short while toward the sun And left the vivid air signed with their honour.
A poet has to adapt himself, more or less consciously,to the demands of his vocation, and hence the peculiarities of poets and the condition of inspiration which many people have said is near to madness... The problem of creative writing is essentially one of concentration... a focusing of the attention in a special way.
When I saw photographs of children murdered by the Fascist, I felt furious pity. When the supporters of Franco talked of Red atrocities, I merely felt indignant that people should tell such lies. In the first case I saw corpses, in the second only words. . . I gradually acquired a certain horror of the way in which my own mind worked. It was clear to me that unless I cared about every murdered child impartially, I did not really care about children being murdered at all.
What is precious is never to forget The delight of the blood drawn from ancient springs Breaking through rocks in worlds before our earth ; Never to deny its pleasure in the simple morning light, Nor its grave evening demand for love; Never to allow gradually the traffic to smother With noise and fog the flowering of the spirit.
The seen and seeing softly mutually strike Their glass barrier that arrests the sight. But the world's being hides in the volcanoes And the foul history pressed into its core; And to myself my being is my childhood And passion and entrails and the roots of senses; I'm pressed into the inside of a mask At the back of love, the back of air, the back of light.
One of my great surprises when I was in America was about twenty-five years ago in Harvard, hearing Randall Jarrell deliver a bitter attack on the way poets were neglected. Yet there were about two thousand people present, and he was being paid five hundred dollars for delivering this attack.