A poet is a man condemned to exile
Because within his heart there is no guile;

A philosopher without a system’s rule
Having mastered and transcended every school.

A poet is an old man in a child,
Wise to the world yet easily beguiled;

He goes to bed cold sober every night
And wakes dead drunk to welcome morning’s light.

A poet is a ruin over treasure,
A deep ocean that none but God can measure;

He eats with dogs, his pillow is a stone,
He swings on gates of tide, and tunes bees’ drone.

A poet is a stronghold you can trust.
A poet is a bit of singing dust.


Large claims: the truth comes from the poet of childlike simplicity who is a fool for love. He is beyond conventions, out of society, hence exiled, childlike, following impulses from nature. He can embrace contradictions because he is not committed to a system. This singing from a holy fool will only work if we can respond to the images that are used, which try to convey an exultant freedom from logic. He brings from the depths of darkness, the subconscious mind, a deep stream of affirmation free from the craving for unique selfhood and delicacy of perception many poets display, for what is really seeking approval and praise. This is an artist who is trying to make us wake up for ourselves as the next poem demonstrates.

The poem itself gives us unadorned images in short simple statements. The second last stanza is memorable. And the pillow as stone suggests the fugitive Jacob in the Bible, who sleeps with a stone for pillow and dreams of a ladder between heaven and earth. True poems are not conscious planning or display.

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