"Every poet, I thought, must be original and originality a condition of poetic genius; so that each poet is like a species in nature […] and can never recur.”
-- Gerard Manley Hopkins, in a letter to Robert Bridges
|"Campfire below the Dunes", oil, by Roxanne Steed|
I agree with Hopkins, but I would take it further and say that, not just each poet, but each person is “a species in nature”, a totally original and irreplaceable part of the universe, a miracle that will never be made again. We make all too little of the significance and uniqueness of each of us. All the people I pass on the street are inimitable marvels, never before seen on earth and never to be replicated. Somehow this mysterious universe sent them into existence, to spread their special sparks here and there for a few years and then to disappear back into the universe that owns them. All of us are mysteries forever, mostly because we are made by a cosmos that simply can’t be explained. The stars stretch out for measureless distances, and so do the inner lives of each us, even the lowest-paid employee, even the poorest lost person on the street. None of us will ever recur; the miracles we are made of will never be known again. We are fresh and astonishing fires that flame up for a few years and then perish as additional unparalleled fires start up and bring a new brightness to the world.