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What's the Use of Poetry?

There truly is wisdom in the past
And we can make it our own
These words from a century ago
Came from Henry Arthur Jones

What Use is Poetry?

I have been fortunate enough to find an old book with this short essay by Henry Arthur Jones, a famous British playwright...

It might seem a bit over the top, but it is an excellent example of the idealism that can drive a poet to try to change the world for the better. 
This essay is a beautiful thing in and of itself and I hope that the reader can appreciate that.

I resisted (for the most part) editing what I perceive to be errors and left it as it was published.

One reason that I'm including it here is that I have not been able to find another reference to it on the Internet!


Poetry that appeals to people who think that they don't like poetry!  (from the heart and mind
of Karl Stuart Kline) -
Poetry with Depth and an Edge!!!

For a good mix of my poetry, including excerpts from all three of my books, go to www.poemhunter.com/karl-stuart-kline





What's  the Use of Poetry?
by Henry Arthur Jones (circa 1900)

What's the use of poetry?  Why, to live upon, when one can't get bread and cheese; to clothe and warm oneself with, when one is ragged and cold!

What's the use of poetry?  To keep faith and hope and worship alive in the heart of man, to reconcile him to life, to make him at home in his world.

What's the use of poetry?  To pour vitriol on deceit and vice, to seam and scar the detested face of hypocrisy and lies.  To add hate to all things hateful and shame to all things shameful!

What's the use of poetry?  To give beauty to beauty, more grace to grace, more truth to truth, to deck the flowers of the field, to rain perfume on the rose and music on the nightingale.

What's the use of poetry?  To be a stumbling block to the worldly wise and the proud, and a camp and pillar of fire to children and the childlike.

What's the use of poetry?  To embalm the immortal dead, to interpret this aimless Universe, to snatch the secrets of the stars, to unleash the seas and the winds, to fling a double rainbow of hope and glory across the heavens, till all the Universe shouts with one voice, and beats with one heart, and pants with one breath!

What's the use of poetry?  To make this wide world drunk with its' loveliness,  to make this garrett a palace and me the King of Death and Fate!

Poetry not real!  not useful!  It is you who are not real, you practical people--you herd of money grubbers, you bats, you owls, you moles, you human vegetables, who root yourselves and fatten up your dull, petty, miserable lives, and eat and drink and sleep, and buy and sell and toil in one long round of humdrum death-in-life!

It is you who are not real.  You were dead and huddled into oblivion before you were born; you do not live at all; you are smoke from the nostrils of death.

Poetry not real! not useful!  There is nothing useful but poetry, and nothing real but the poet!