Vol. 9 No. 6 1942 - page 465

fied at all, it is as belonging to a period of search for a proper
modern colloquial idiom. We have still a good way to go in the
invention of a verse medium for the theatre; a medium in which
we shall be able to hear the speech of contemporary human beings,
in which dramatic characters can express the purest poetry without
high-falutin and in which they can convey the most commonplace
message without absurdity. But when we reach a point at which
the poetic idiom can be stabilised, then a period of musical elabo–
ration can follow. I think that a poet may gain much from the
study of music: how much technical knowledge of musical form
is desirable I do not know, for I have not that technical knowledge
myself. But I believe that the properties in which music concerns
the poet most nearly, are the sense of rhythm and the sense of
structure. I think that it might be possible for a poet to work too
closely to musical analogies: the result might be an effect of
artificiality; but I know that a poem, or a passage of a poem,
may tend to realise itself first as a particular rhythm before it
reaches expression in words, and that this rhythm may bring to
birth the idea and the image; and I do not believe that this is an
experience peculiar to myself. The use of recurrent themes is
as natural to poetry as to music. There are possibilities for verse
which bear some analogy to the development of a theme by differ–
ent groups of instruments; there are possibilities of transitions
in a poem comparable to the different movements of a symphony
or a quartet; there are possibilities of contrapuntal arrangement
of subject-matter. It is in the concert room, rather than in the
opera house, that the germ of a poem may be quickened. More
than this I cannot say, but must leave the matter here to those
who have had a musical education. But I would remind you again
of the two tasks of poetry, the two directions in which language
must at different times be worked: so that however far it may
go in musical elaboration, we must expect a time to come when
poetry will have again to be recalled to speech. The same prob–
lems arise, and always in new forms; and poetry has always before
it, as F. S. Oliver said of politics, an 'endless adventure.'
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