Poetry Explorer- Classic Contemporary Poetry, THE ART OF POETRY; TO CHARLES MORICE, by PAUL VERLAINE

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Classic and Contemporary Poetry

THE ART OF POETRY; TO CHARLES MORICE, by                 Poet's Biography
First Line: Music must be paramount
Last Line: And everything else is mere literature.
Subject(s): Poetry & Poets

Music must be paramount:
Choose for this an Uneven Rhythm,
More indefinite, more soluble in air,
With nothing to press or bind.

You must not hesitate to choose
Your words without ambiguity:
The best song is a hazy song
Where Vagueness and Precision join.

There, are eyes beautiful and veiled,
And the quivering light of high noon,
There, in a cooled autumnal sky,
Is a blue confusion of bright stars.

For we must have Nuance still,
Not Color-nothing but nuance!
Ah! only nuance can betroth
Dream to dream and flute to horn!

Flee far as possible from deadly Jest,
From cruel Wit and impure Laughter,
That make the eyes of Heaven weep-
Avoid this garlic of low-class kitchens!

Take eloquence and wring its neck!
And while you are in the mood, try
To moderate Rhyme a little more.
If you don't, what limit will it reach?

Who can tell the wrongs that Rhyme has done?
What deaf child or crazy Negro
Fashioned us this bauble from a coin
That rings false and hollow under the file?

Music, always more music!
Let your verse be the winged thing
We feel soaring from a soul on its way
To other loves in other heavens.

Let your verse be a good-luck charm
Scattered on the brisk morning wind
That passes smelling of mint and thyme. . . .
And everything else is mere literature.

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