"In Poetry I have a few Axioms.
1st. I think Poetry should surprise by a fine excess and not by Singularity—it should strike the Reader as a wording of his own highest thoughts, and appear almost a Remembrance—
2nd. Its touches of Beauty should never be half way thereby making the reader breathless instead of content: the rise, the progress, the setting of imagery should like the Sun come natural to him—shine over him and set soberly although in magnificence leaving him in the Luxury of twilight—but it is easier to think what Poetry should be than to write it—and this leads me on to another axiom.
That if Poetry comes not as naturally as the Leaves to a tree it had better not come at all."
---John KeatsThanks to Jules at 7 Impossible Things Before Breakfast for pointing me to this quote, which can be found on Knopf's Poem-A-Day web site.
This post is part of a month-long celebration of not-quite-daily quotes about poets, poems, and poetry. For more quotes, see the archive of the Poetry Quote of the Day. There are many more National Poetry Month celebrations across the Kidlitosphere.