John Berger on Poems

“Poems, even when narrative, do not resemble stories.  All stories are about battles, of one kind or another, which end in victory and defeat.  Everything moves towards the end, when the outcome will be known.

Poems, regardless of any outcome, cross battlefields, tending the wounded, listening to the wild monologues of the triumphant or the fearful.  They bring a kind of peace.  Not by anaesthesia or easy reassurance, but by recognition and the promise that what has been experienced cannot disappear as if it had never been.  Yet the promise is not of a monument.  (Who, still on a battlefield, wants monuments?)  The promise is that language has acknowledged, has given shelter, to the experience which demanded, which cried out.”

– John Berger

John Berger on Poems

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