from The Other Voice by Octavio Paz --
“The operative mode of poetic thought is imagining, and imagination consists, essentially, of the ability to place contrary or divergent realities in relationship. All poetic forms and all linguistic figures have one thing in common: they seek, and often find, hidden resemblances. In the most extreme cases, they unite opposites. Comparisons, analogies, metaphors, metonymies, and the other devices of poetry—all tend to produce images in which this and that, the one and the other, the one and the many are joined. The poetic process conceives language as an animated universe traversed by a dual current of attraction and repulsion. In language, the unions and the divisions, the love affairs and the separations of stars, cells, atoms, and men are reproduced. Each poem, whatever its subject and form and the ideas that shape it, is first and foremost a miniature animated cosmos. The poem unites the “ten thousand things that make up the universe,” as the ancient Chinese put it.”
"Hugo said it in a magnificent phrase: Tout cherche tout, sans but, sans treve, sans repos- Everything seeks everything, without purpose, without end, without cease. The relationship between man and poetry is as old as our history: it began when human beings began to be human. The first hunters and gathers looked at themselves in astonishment one day, for an interminable instant, in the still waters of a poem. Since that moment, people have not stopped looking at themselves in the mirror. And they have seen themselves, at one and the same time, as creators of images and as images of their creations. For that reason I can say, with a modicum of certainty, that as long as there are people, there will be poetry. The relationship, however, may be broken. Born of the human imagination, it may die if imagination dies or is corrupted. If human beings forget poetry, they will forget themselves. And return to original chaos."