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  ― 127 ―

I Am—Poetry

The wind bloweth where it listeth. …” but who knoweth whence it came or whither it goes?

I AM the wind. I am the sigh of the sheoaks, the whispering of tamarisks, the moan of the surf, the silence, deep-toned and immanent. Older than the hills am I, old as the wind that blew out of heaven to welcome the first dawn.

I am Maya. I am Gramarye. Birth is mine, and death, sorrow and joy and hope. All men see me even though they be blind. All men hear me even though they be deaf. All men speak me even though they be dumb—knowing not any of these things save through the spirit that is of the wind and, nameless.

I am poetry!—whom poets speak of cunningly, not always perceiving the truth whose law I am. And they make images of me according to their comprehension—dressing them with the fabrics of their fancy as it seems good to them—making them goddess or hoyden as their mood chances—but their servant always.

And they make new fashions for their images, even as the tailors and mantle-makers do, and they set them in their book-pages and survey them as window-dressers do, saying, “It is a good show!” But bye and bye they tire of these creations of their imagination, and they devise yet others, saying, “Let us make a new display, let us make something that will clamour of the day we live in!”

Assonance and dissonance, syncopation and vers libre are some of the materials that they jumble with such consummate confusion as to baffle even the elite.

  ― 128 ―

And to the Forum come the critics, dressed in much solemnity and great show of wisdom, and they pass certain judgments—so that jealousy and bitterness run riot, and the day is one of failure and futility.

Oh, Poets! Oh, Poet! Behind these shadows still am I—Poetry, who can be slave of no man for my truth's sake.

Ye are wearied in the multitude of your counsels, in the contradiction of the window-shows, in the perversties of the printed page.

Get ye into the wilderness and fast, and listen to the winds and mark the coming and the going of the birds, dawn and sunset and moonrise and the white procession of the stars.

Behold the tongues of the wilderness are very many, and they speak truth, very bitter truth, salted with fire for your soul's chastening. Learn of them your own littleness, till in perfected humility and a great gratitude ye dip your pens in the blood of your own hearts— and write, because ye must, of that thing ye have found.

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