Poesie: From The Battle of the Trees

The word ‘poetry’ also derives from the Greek ‘poiein’, which has the same meaning as the Sanskrit root ‘kri’, whence comes ‘karma’.

This is also why the sacred books are written in rhythmic language, clearly making of them something altogether different from mere ‘poems’ in the purely profane sense, which the anti-traditional bias of the modern ‘critics’ would have them be; and besides, in its origins poetry was by no means the vain ‘literature’ which it has become owing to a degeneration resulting from the downward march of the human cycle, and it had a truly sacred character.  Traces of this can be found as late as Western classical antiquity, where poetry was still called the ‘language of the Gods’, an expression equivalent to those we have indicated, since the Gods, that is, the ‘Devas’, are, like the angels, representations of higher states.  (The Sanskrit ‘Deva’ and the Latin ‘Deus’ are but one and the same word.)

~ René Guénon: Symbols of Sacred Science

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Indifferent bards pretend,
They pretend a monstrous beast,
With a hundred heads,
And a grievous combat
At the root of the tongue.
And another fight there is
At the back of the head.
There shall be a black darkness,
There shall be a shaking of the mountain,
There shall be a purifying furnace,
There shall first be a great wave,
And when the shout shall be heard –
Putting forth new leaves are the tops of the beech,
Changing form and being renewed from a whithered state;
Entangled are the tops of the oak.

From: ‘The Battle of the Trees’, translation by D.W. Nash, a Victorian author who also wrote ‘Taliesin or The Bards and Druids of Britain’; quoted after Robert Graves: ‘The White Goddess’


Poesie: Frost’s Fire and Ice

The truth is that Frost was the first American who could be honestly reckoned as a master-poet by world standards. – Robert Graves

This is a well-known poem indeed, and for good reason.

Fire and Ice

Some say the world will end in fire,
Some say in ice.
From what I’ve tasted of desire
I hold with those who favor fire.
But if it had to perish twice,
I think I know enough of hate
To say that for destruction ice
Is also great
And would suffice.

~ Robert Frost


QUOTE: Robert Graves

C.S. Lewis agrees.

C.S. Lewis agrees.

The modern licence claimed by novelists and short-story writers to use their imaginations as freely as they please prevents students of mythology from realizing that in North-Western Europe, where the post-Classical Greek novel was not in circulation, story-tellers did not invent their plots and characters but continually retold the same traditional tales, extemporizing only when their memory was at fault. Unless religious or social change forced a modification of the plot or a modernization of incident, the audience expected to hear the tales told in the accustomed way. Almost all were explanations of ritual or religious theory, overlaid with history: a body of instruction corresponding with the Hebrew Scriptures and having many elements in common with them.

~Robert Graves, “The White Goddess”

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