Imperfect Transcripts

An excerpt from "The Poet, by Ralph Waldo Emerson

For poetry was all written before time was, and whenever we are so finely organized that we can penetrate into that region where the air is music, we hear those primal warblings, and attempt to write them down, but we lose ever and anon a word, or a verse, and substitute something of our own, and thus miswrite the poem. The men of more delicate ear write down these cadences more faithfully, and these transcripts, though imperfect, become the songs of the nations. For nature is as truly beautiful as it is good, or as it is reasonable, and must as much appear, as it must be done, or be known. Words and deeds are quite indifferent modes of the divine energy. Words are also actions, and actions are a kind of words.

  "Imperfect Transcripts," Ralph Waldo Emerson, "The Poet"

  "A Bard Commensurate," Walt Whitman, 1855 Preface

  "Spring Songs," Walt Whitman, Specimen Days,

  "A Wilder, Lovelier Song," William Carlos Williams, "The American Background"

  "Poetics of Loss," DL