Poetry is innocent, not wise. It does not learn from experience, because each poetic experience is unique.
But with exquisite breathing you smile, with satisfaction of love, And I touch you again as you tick in the silence and settle in sleep.
The body, what is it, Father, but a sign To love the force that grows us, to give back What in Thy palm is senselessness and mud?
Haul up the flag, you mourners, Not half-mast but all the way; The funeral is done and disbanded; The devil's had the final say.
The proverbist knows nothing of the two sides of a question. He knows only the roundness of answers.
Poetry is not a way of saying things; it's a way of seeing things.
Keelhaul the poets in the vestry chairs.
Poets of course are even more unpredictable than other writers, overwhelmed as they are by the moment they inhabit and finding it difficult to connect yesterday with tomorrow.
Self-knowledge is a dangerous thing, tending to make man shallow or insane.
Every war is its own excuse. That's why they're all surrounded with ideals. That's why they're all crusades.
Lawyers love paper. They eat, sleep and dream paper. They turn paper into gold, and their files are colorful and their language neoclassical and calli-graphically bewigged.
A man's house is his stage. Others walk on to play their bit parts. Now and again a soliloquy, a birth, an adultery.
How something important happens is the business of historians and newspapers, the effect it has is the business of philosophers and writers and especially poets.
To make the child in your own image is a capital crime, for your image is not worth repeating. The child knows this and you know it. Consequently you hate each other.
My soul is now her day, my day her night, So I lie down, and so I rise.
The good poet sticks to his real loves, to see within the realm of possibility. He never tries to hold hands with God or the human race.
Already old, the question Who shall die? Becomes unspoken Who is innocent?
Laughter and grief join hands. Always the heart Clumps in the breast with heavy stride; The face grows lined and wrinkled like a chart, The eyes bloodshot with tears and tide. Let the wind blow, for many a man shall die.
Leo Connellan has retained his soul and voice in Provincetown and Other Poems.
The modern essay has regained a good deal of its literary status in our time, much to the credit of Joseph Epstein.
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