Today I read nearly two pages
Of a book by a mystical poet,
And I laughed like one who has wept a lot.
Mystical poets are sick philosophers,
And philosophers are madmen.
For mystical poets say that flowers feel
And they say that stones have souls
And that rivers have ecstasies by moonlight.
But flowers, if they could feel, would not be flowers,
They would be people;
And if stones had souls they would be living things, they would not be stones;
And if rivers had ecstasies by moonlight,
Rivers would be sick men.
One has to be ignorant of flowers and stones and rivers
In order to speak of their feelings.
To speak of the souls of stones, of flowers, of rivers,
Is to speak of oneself and one’s delusions.
Thank God that stones are only stones,
And that rivers are nothing but rivers,
And that flowers are merely flowers.
As for me, I write the prose of my poetry
And I rest content,
For I know that I understand Nature from without;
And I don’t understand it from within
Because Nature has no within;
Otherwise it would not be Nature.