On Teaching the Young

The young are quick of speech.
Grown middle-aged, I teach
Corrosion and distrust,
Exacting what I must.

A poem is what stands
When imperceptive hands,
Feeling, have gone astray.
It is what one should say.

Few minds will come to this.
The poet’s only bliss
Is in cold certitude—
Laurel, archaic, rude.

Yvor Winters, “On Teaching the Young” from The Selected Poems of Yvor Winters, edited by R. L. Barth. Used by permission of Ohio University
Press, Athens, Ohio.
Source: The Collected Poems of Yvor Winters (1960)
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