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THE TINDERBOX

The poet must see things with his own eyes, hear them with his own ears; not with the eyes and ears of those who have written before him. -W.H. Davies in The World of Poetry, Clive Sansom, Phoenix House, London, 1959, p.140.

…know of thine own knowledge and not through the knowledge of thy neighbour…justice is My gift to thee and the sign of My loving-kindness. -Baha’u’llah, Hidden Words.

So the originality of a poet lies first and last in the audacity of being which permits him to be true to what he perceives, and to his own nature. There is no originality apart from this… -Stephen Spender, Life and the Poet, 1942, in Sansom, op. cit., p.141.

I think Poetry should surprise by a fine excess…it should strike the Reader as a wording of his own highest thoughts… -John Keats, in a letter, 1818.

The good poet, in writing himself, his poetry,

writes his time: connecting it to the remotest past

and the furthest reaches of a future

cast in the drama of eternity.

Harnessing his genius to his times,

he runs through infinite space and time

seeking joy from an incorruptible Essence,

from the most manifest of the manifest

and the most hidden of the hidden

and, when he finds a glimmer, a trace,

of the traceless Friend, he seeks to share it

as best he can as in a marriage of true minds;

he seeks the hospitable reader as tinder waits the spark.

This he may never achieve for such true minds are rare.

Knowing yourself is like knowing God

and without the manifestation-the Father-

this tinderbox is never lit. An iron frost,

a treacherously thin ice, a subtle veil-

can make poetry impassable.

Ron Price

20 September 1995

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