A New Year
The new year began, as the world fell into a state of unprecedented calm. And the farmer dropped his sickle and froze, witnessing a spectacle overwhelming in its common majesty. The sky was the brightest of blues, unblemished by cloud, the fields stretching before him were as the purest gold and without shadow. The wheat was plentiful and the hive ran with a honey rivaling the gold of the fields. Beyond, the streams were bright and clear as if poured from a crystals infinite center.
The children ceased their play and stood in baffled silence as a host of luminous balloons, wider than great ships, hovered, dipped as if in greeting, then ascended deep into that same blue.
Bowls of bread and fish and fruit materialized in the hands of the hungry. The sun drew the water from raging flood, relieving the saturated earth. The rain satiated drought and the desert flourished. Rivers teamed with fish, pink and plentiful. And the lame ran, the blind spun in a new radiance, and the sick rose refreshed.
The healing worm rose from the clay of creation and the tongue of every living thing brought forth understanding. And laughter rang out and the grieving were comforted. Bells of silver chimed and all bowed their heads, giving thanks. And rainbows circled the earth like the rings of Saturn, and all dipped their fingers into its formlessness and knew that it was good.
Ars Poetica, Horace, c.19 BC
Ars Poetica, or The Art of Poetry, is a poem written by Horace c. 19 BC, in which he advises poets on the art of writing poetry and drama. The Ars Poetica has "exercised a great influence in later ages on European literature, notably on French drama" and has inspired poets and authors since it was written. Although it has been well-known since the Middle Ages, it has been used in literary criticism since the Renaissance.
Written, like Horace's other epistles of this period, in a loose conversational frame, Ars Poetica consists of 476 lines containing nearly 30 maxims for young poets. But Ars Poetica is not a systematic treatise of theory, and it wasn't intended to be. It is an inviting and lively poetic letter, composed for friends who appreciate poetic literature.
Horace approaches poetry from a practical standpoint—as a craft, or ars—rather than the theoretical approach of his predecessors, Aristotle and the philosopher Plato. He also holds the poet in high regard, as opposed, for instance, to Plato, who distrusts mimesis and who has philosopher Socrates say in Book 10 of the Republic that he would banish poets from the ideal state.
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