Poetry is the art of saying the unsayable, that which can only be said in a kind of music, which can be said in no other way.
I have always felt, very strongly, that all art should be allowed to speak for itself. Maybe that’s most essentially true of poetry.
Res ipsa loquitur.
Our lives are a mystery to us. So much happens at the level of shadow and heartbeat, of spirit, breath and reflection.
If you ask a poet, “what does it mean?” you’re asking for the unspeakable to be spoken, for a song without music, for a kind of life demeaned and stripped of art. If it could be said the way you want it explained, it wouldn’t be poetry in the first place. You’re asking him to take that work out of its context and put it in yours.
Read it again. Read it at sunrise or in the bathtub. Read it while rain pounds on the house. Read it with one eye open or with a mouth full of feathers and wine. Read it over and over until it gets through to you. Or give up. Move on and try again when you’re older. When you can hear the clock more clearly ticking, maybe it’s time.
His art is eccentricity, his aim
How not to hit the mark he seems to aim at,
His passion how to avoid the obvious,
His technique how to vary the avoidance.
– Robert Francis