On the poetic corpse of Rimbaud we have begun
erecting a tower of Babel. It means nothing that
we still have poets, or that some of them are
still intelligible, still able to communicate with
the mob. What is the trend of poetry and where
is the link between poet and audience? What is
the message? Let us ask that above all. Whose’
voice is it that now makes itself heard, the poet’s
or the scientist’s? Are we thinking of Beauty,
however bitter, or are we thinking of atomic
energy? And what is the chief emotion which our
great discoveries now inspire? Dread! We have
knowledge without wisdom, comfort without
security, belief without faith. The poetry of life
is expressed only in terms of the mathematical,
the physical, the chemical. The poet is a pariah,
an anomaly. He is on the way to extinction. Who
cares now how monstrous he makes himself?
The monster is at large, roaming the world. He
has escaped from the laboratory; he is at the
service of anyone who has the courage to employ
him. The world has indeed become number.
The moral dichotomy, like all dichotomies, has
broken down. This is the period of flux and hazard;
the great drift has set in.

Henry Miller, THE TIME OF THE ASSASSINS

 

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