Poetry has been with me for the past forty years. I have lived longer with it than with my wife. I have called it lover, destiny, vocation, mystery; but I do not know exactly what it is. I have always felt it, however, like a feminine entity, and therefore superior. It is a goddess, perhaps.
I have never thought of leaving or deceiving her; but I fear some day it may be she who leaves me for a lucky, younger man. To avoid that, I treat her with respect and make sure that I am worthy of deserving her occasional favors.
Poetry doesn''t appreciate hypocrisy or tricks. It doesn''t like excuses, deception, or hollow words. It loves numbers and music, and knows some magic. Poetry never ages; it lives longer than men and their languages, and longer than the memory of the things it sings. Poetry loves children and poets, but hates those who recite it. It fears bad poets, novelists addicted to the market, and indifferent teachers because they are the only ones who can harm it.
I once wrote that the classroom is, frequently, the scaffold of poetry. The poem arrives there like a dissected butterfly which does not want to illustrate the movement of creative flight but rather its failure. Dried up, isolated from its central fire, they proceed to the autopsy, which will determine if the lepidopteron died from 11-syllable verses, if its organism was polluted with metaphors or prosopopoeia, or if the consonant rhyme was its cause of death. Poetry cannot be dissected. It is a creature of air, almost an element of breathing. How do we teach its sense of movement and the sound of its flight? More importantly, how do we show the destination of that flight?
Now that the teaching of values is in fashion, we must begin by recognizing the value of poetry. The value of things depends on their power to make us care. Philosophers say that things we don''t find indifferent are those that have value. The true value of things is objective, it exists in itself, and it doesn''t depend on tastes, esteem, or the opinion of others. There are those who do not care about poetry. However, that doesn''t mean that it lacks value; it only means that there are people blind to its value, like there are people blind to the value of divinity or to the value of justice or to the value of freedom.
Poetry has value, I repeat, because we are not indifferent towards it. There is no society without poetry. Poetry lives in the words of the tribe, in the song of the shaman, in the intonation of the jester, in the hymns to the rain. Poetry has lived and has been important in all languages, in all times, in all latitudes. Poetry - which has been Egyptian, Greek, Latin, Saxon, German, Arabic, Chinese, Russian, etc. - is one and all. It lives in the collective memory, in the clay boards of
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