Amy Lowell

Posting Date: August 3, 2008 [EBook #1020]

Release Date: August, 1997

Language: English

Character set encoding: ASCII

*** START OF THIS PROJECT GUTENBERG EBOOK SWORD BLADES AND POPPY SEED ***

Produced by Alan R. Light

SWORD BLADES AND POPPY SEED

by Amy Lowell

[American (Massachusetts) poet, 1874-1925.]

[Note on text: Lines longer than 78 characters have been cut and

continued on the next line, which is indented 2 spaces unless in a prose

poem.]

SWORD BLADES AND POPPY SEED

_"Face invisible! je t'ai gravee en medailles

D'argent doux comme l'aube pale,

D'or ardent comme le soleil,

D'airain sombre comme la nuit;

Il y en a de tout metal,

Qui tintent clair comme la joie,

Qui sonnent lourd comme la gloire,

Comme l'amour, comme la mort;

Et j'ai fait les plus belles de belle argile

Seche et fragile.

"Une a une, vous les comptiez en souriant,

Et vous disiez: Il est habile;

Et vous passiez en souriant.

"Aucun de vous n'a donc vu

Que mes mains tremblaient de tendresse,

Que tout le grand songe terrestre

Vivait en moi pour vivre en eux

Que je gravais aux metaux pieux,

Mes Dieux."_

Henri de Regnier, "Les Medailles d'Argile".

Preface

No one expects a man to make a chair without first learning how, but

there is a popular impression that the poet is born, not made, and that

his verses burst from his overflowing heart of themselves. As a matter

of fact, the poet must learn his trade in the same manner, and with the

same painstaking care, as the cabinet-maker. His heart may overflow with

high thoughts and sparkling fancies, but if he cannot convey them to his

reader by means of the written word he has no claim to be considered a

poet. A workman may be pardoned, therefore, for spending a few moments

to explain and describe the technique of his trade. A work of beauty

which cannot stand an intimate examination is a poor and jerry-built

thing.

In the first place, I wish to state my firm belief that poetry should

not try to teach, that it should exist simply because it is a created

beauty, even if sometimes the beauty of a gothic grotesque. We do not

ask the trees to teach us moral lessons, and only the Salvation Army

feels it necessary to pin texts upon them. We know that these texts are

ridiculous, but many of us do not yet see that to write an obvious moral

all over a work of art, picture, statue, or poem, is not only

ridiculous, but timid and vulgar. We distrust a beauty we only half

understand, and rush in with our impertinent suggestions. How far we

are from "admitting the Universe"! The Universe, which flings down its

continents and seas, and leaves them without comment. Art is as much a

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