We set ourself to a long and difficult art,
     An amateur at heart.
We said, “A poem should be like fragile ware,
     Perfect and bone-bare
And real enough to touch, if one has courage.”
     That was a tender age.
Some cracked, and some, more obstinate than we,
     Kept their deformity.
Here are the crazed, misshapen, and time-tarnished
     Poems we once wished—
All that luck, zeal, and pains of craft would spare—
     Finished beyond repair.

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This article originally appeared in The New Criterion, Volume 2 Number 8, on page 66
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