Ten favourite poets (in no particular order except the first)

Edwin Muir enfolding our story within the pattern of the Fable.

Kathleen Raine haunting the ideal as it moves across time.

Edward Thomas shaping the pastoral of a lost country.

T.S. Eliot exploring the traced lines of history and place in the mystical.

Wendell Berry celebrating community, place and Sabbath.

Constantine Cavafy memorialising his lost time, surrendered love and a forgotten history.

William Blake finding his cleansed doors of perception and the realities of prophecy.

Angelos Sikelianos recreating mythos in a Greek village, now and always.

Mary Oliver singing from nature into her naturalness.

Rabindranath Tagore balancing between knowing and unknowing, affirming even when denying.

 Beatrice addressing Dante from the Car by William Blake
Archetype in the West of Poetic Inspiration

The Good Man in Hell

If a good man were ever housed in Hell
By needful error of the qualities,
Perhaps to prove the rule or shame the devil,
Or speak the truth only a stranger sees,

Would he, surrendering quick to obvious hate,
Fill half eternity with cries and tears,
Or watch beside Hell's little wicket gate
In patience for the first ten thousand years,

Feeling the curse climb slowly to his throat
That, uttered, dooms him to rescindless ill,
Forcing his praying tongue to run by rote,
Eternity entire before him still?

Would he at last, grown faithful in his station,
Kindle a little hope in hopeless Hell,
And sow among the damned doubts of damnation,
Since here someone could live, and live well?

One doubt of evil would bring down such a grace,
Open such a gate, and Eden could enter in,
Hell be a place like any other place,
And love and hate and life and death begin. 

Edwin Muir


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