From time to time some raise the question: “Does poetry matter?”
As counter-intuitive as it seems in a world strafed so often by brute force and brutal chaos, poetry matters most of all.
It’s the poet’s voice that reminds us, for instance, that if you have to murder children to win a war, you’ve already lost a lot more than just the war.
It’s the poet’s voice that restores heart.
From Eliot: Excerpt from “Preludes” (1917)
His soul stretched tight across the skies
That fade behind a city block,
Or trampled by insistent feet
At four and five and six o’clock;
And short square fingers stuffing pipes,
And evening newspapers, and eyes
Assured of certain certainties,
The conscience of a blackened street
Impatient to assume the world.I am moved by fancies that are curled
Around these images, and cling:
The notion of some infinitely gentle
Infinitely suffering thing…