Monday, January 9, 2012

Legislators of the World (There Should be a Club in High School)

from
The African Tarot

Yesterday I was with a group of poets toward the end of the day, toward the end of the weekend.  None of us could remember the exact quote or the correct poet.

I shamefacedly, humbly admit I came up with Keats, Auden and Eliot.  Why not Shakespeare?  Why not the Bible, with whom Ben Franklin has been confused, quote wise.

It was easy enough to Google and even more fun to Google an image. My Tarot deck is the Haindl, but that's a tricky deck to find online.  It's so beautiful and very mysterious.  I am very happy, however, to have discovered The African Tarot.  Sleek and otherworldly.

Of course Shelley wasn't thinking about Tarot decks when he wrote In Defense of Poetry, though I wouldn't be surprised if he or any of the Romantics studied Tarot. Many poets have.  I keep getting sidelined.

Here is the quotation in full. As you know, a hierophant is a priestess or priest, an interpreter of sacred mysteries or arcane knowledge.

Poets are the hierophants of an unapprehended inspiration; the mirrors of the gigantic shadows which futurity casts upon the present; the words which express what they understand not; the trumpets which sing to battle, and feel not what they inspire; the influence which is moved not, but moves. Poets are the unacknowledged legislators of the world.  Percy Bysshe Shelley

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