26 October 2007

W. H. Auden

[from W. H. Auden's The Dyer's Hand, 1962]

A society which was really like a good poem, embodying the aesthetic virtues of beauty, order, economy and subordination of detail to the whole, would be a nightmare of horror for, given the historical reality of actual men, such a society could only come into being through selective breeding, extermination of the physically and mentally unfit, absolute obedience to its Director, and a large slave class kept out of sight in cellars.

Vice versa, a poem which was really like a political democracy -- examples, unfortunately, exist -- would be formless, windy, banal and utterly boring.

The Dyer's Hand

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