excerpt from A Defence of Poetry

A man cannot say, "I will compose poetry." The greatest poet even cannot say it: for the mind in creation is as a fading coal which some invisible influence, like an inconstant wind, awakens to transitory brightness...when composition begins, inspiration is already on the decline.


NOTES: The composition of poetry is uncontrollable. Because Poetry is innately human, there is no translation from observation that occurs. The source of creation is internal, and we have no control over when or how inspiration strikes. Furthermore, the composition cannot hold up against what was imagined; it will always be inferior because there is no adequate way of capturing that always-elusive Truth. Though Poetry expresses an eternal truth of life, it is truth captured in imperfection.