In a perfect society it would not be necessary to say In a perfect society the politicians should enact a law which provides a regulation for who may be a poet and this perfect law would not deny any person entry to the guild but only say If you do not tell the truth, you are not a poet.
A person with a script is standing in the middle of a room, saying The first thing I want to say is that everything I’m going to say here is true. Of course, you can’t tell everything you know about people unless you’re trying to hurt them and I don’t want to do that. So I’m going to lie a bit here and there. But as far as all the things that matter are concerned I’m going to tell the truth. And this may or may not be a reason to revise a perfect law. I don’t care. I don’t like poets, anyway. Most of them are just like me.
Who is a poet, then? I know one, a schizophrenic, whose head is nearly bursting with all sorts of delusions. He’s in the audience tonight. But you can’t see who it is. It’s dark inside. There’s another in the audience who has had a kind of cancer and has refused to die of it. And another one I know who — and I must be careful here because, though I have asked if it might be possible to write such a line, it is still a line that is painful to hear — … No, I won’t write it. Privacy has to count for something.
I say this only to remind you that there is a poetry of the audience.