You can only learn about poetry
from one who knows. There's nothing to be gained
from one who doesn't. You need a touchstone,
not a limestone, to test gold.
But when ideas come together smoothly in good Tenugu
without any slack, and description achieves a style,
and there are layers of meaning, and the syllables
are soft and alive with sweetness, and the words
sing to the ear and gently delight the mind,
and what is finest brings joy, and certain flashes
dazzle the eye while the poem glows like moonlight,
and the images are the very image of perfection,
and there is a brilliant flow of flavor,
and both mārga and deśi become the native idiom,
and figures truly transfigure, so that people of taste
love to listen and are enriched
by the fullness of meaning—
that is how poetry works, when crafted
by all real poets.
Good color, build, apparent softness:
they're all there in a poor image, but if you look inside
it's dead. That's what a bad poet makes.
Good color, build, softness,
inside and out: you find them
in a living woman, and in good poems.
If you look for good lines in a real poem,
they're everywhere, in dense profusion.
That is poetry. But if one goes on chattering
and, by chance, a few lines
come out well, like a blind man
stepping on a quail,
would you call that a poem?
Skilled words, charming movements,
ornaments, luminous feelings, elevated thoughts,
the taste of life—connoisseurs find all these
in poetry, as in women.
An arrow shot by an archer
or a poem made by a poet
should cut through your heart,
jolting the head.
If it doesn't, it's no arrow,
it's no poem.
- Nanne Coda
in These my words, Penguin