Esteemed thinker: Percy Bysshe Shelley on poetry

When we read poetry we are often enlightened in ways that consume our very spirit. When we write poetry we reveal our spirit. For some, poetry is found in books, some find it in their dreams, and then others solicit it from every nook and cranny.

My poem As the Shore Unfolds found its way to you on a postcard… but since I haven’t all your addresses, it was easier to post it here on my blog.


Today’s blog continues my personally joyful expedition about Poetry with thoughts from the esteemed Percy Bysshe Shelley (1792-1822). English poet of the Romantic period in literature, he was married to Mary Shelley, author of Frankenstein, and son-in-law to philosopher William Goodwin. Today’s thoughts are snipped from his work, A Defence of Poetry and Other Essays. Here is the great Shelley in his own words…

Percy Shelley “… Poetry is ever accompanied with pleasure: all spirits on which it falls open themselves to receive the wisdom which is mingled with its delight. In the infancy of the world, neither poets themselves
nor their auditors are fully aware of the excellence of poetry: for it acts in a divine and unapprehended manner, beyond and above consciousness; and it is reserved for future generations to contemplate
and measure the mighty cause and effect in all the strength and splendour of their union. Even in modern times, no living poet ever arrived at the fullness of his fame; the jury which sits in judgement upon a poet, belonging as he does to all time, must be composed of his peers: it must be impanelled by Time from the selectest of the wise of many generations. A poet is a nightingale, who sits in darkness and sings to cheer its own solitude with sweet sounds; his auditors are as men entranced by the melody of an unseen musician, who feel that they are moved and softened, yet know not whence or why…”