for Richard Wilbur


Today I am proud of all poets everywhere,
For it’s true: the voice is sacred,
Such is this mix of meaning, muscle, and air.


Though they toil in private, as at solitaire,
And often wilt among the living and thrive among the dead,
Today I am proud of all poets everywhere


For they loose the stops, and what issues there
Is like a dance upon an isthmus between two seabeds,
Such is this mix of meaning, muscle, and air,


And they are its outlets, the vivid portals in air
Through which the winds of all revelations are sped,
So that today I am proud of all poets everywhere.


Some god, in his hunger to be known, pared
His desire into a pipe of flesh, and through

it like a living thread

Goes this mix of meaning, muscle, and air.

 


O Voice, rising in rage, or lifted in prayer,
Or falling silent, in despair of all that cannot be said,
Today I am proud of all poets everywhere,
Such is this mix of meaning, muscle, and air.

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This article originally appeared in The New Criterion, Volume 19 Number 9, on page 28
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