Thursday, October 25, 2007


The main task of a poet is to see. Poets are essentially people of vision. The vast majority of us can see; we all look out on to the same world. But it's possible to look without seeing.

The poet has a special sensitivity, a heightened awareness, an attentiveness which most people do not possess - or exhibit only at rare moments. Poets see what most of us miss.

Prophets are like that too. In fact, a common Hebrew word for prophet is 'one who sees', 'a person of vision'. Another word means 'one who raves', 'one who is beside himself'. (Shakespeare said something somewhere about the kinship between poets and madmen).

The Old Testament prophets (and Jesus) majored on two great evils: oppression and injustice, and idolatry/false religion: both of these sets of evils promote false religion.

Are poets/prophets born that way - or do they develop these sensitivities over time? The answer, I believe, is 'yes' :-)

More later...

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