Although a poem arises when there's nothing else to be done, although a poem is a last attempt at order when one can't stand the disorder any longer,
although poets are most needed when freedom, vitamin C, communications, laws, and hypertension therapy are also most needed,
although to be an artist is to fail and art is fidelity to failure, as Samuel Beckett says,
a poem is not one of the last but of the first things of man.
~ ~ ~
Certainly a poem is only a game.
Certainly a poem exists only at the moment of origin and at the moment of reading. And at best in the shadow-play of memory.
Certainly one can't enter the same poem twice.
Certainly a poet has the impression from the beginning that no purpose exists, as Henry Miller has said.
Certainly art becomes generally acceptable only when it declines into a mechanism and its order becomes a habit.
But in its aimlessness, in its desperate commitment to the word, in its primal order of birth and re-birth, a poem remains the most general guarantee that we can still do something, that we can still do something against emptiness, that we haven't given in but are giving ourselves to something.
The most general gurantee that we are not composed only of facts, of facts which, as Ernst Fischer says, are deeds withered into things.
Provided a poem, which is the poet's modest attempt to put off disintegration for a while, is not regarded as the philosopher's stone, bringing salvation and deliverance to stupefied mankind.
For art doesn't solve problems but only wears them out.
For art is fidelity to failure.
For a poem is when nothing else remains.
(formatting shot to pieces by blogger but you get the gist of it)
Miroslav Holub 'Although' (book title as well as poem title) Cape Editions 1970