“Poetry had undergone a fantastic transformation. Poetry, Shelley says, is “connate with the origin of man,” and “a poet participates in the eternal, the infinite, and the one.” Poetry comprises every creative activity of human nature, including the arts, politics, and science: “The institutors of laws, and the founders of civil society, and the inventors of the arts of life” are all in some sense poets, since they shape reality in the light of their vision. Shelley even speaks of “the poetry in the doctrines of Jesus Christ,” as if Christianity itself were just one enormous poem.
“Someday, when all your material possessions will seem to have shed their utility and just become obstacles to the toilet, poems will still hold their value. They are rooms that take up such little room. A memorized poem, or a line or two, becomes part internal jewelry and part life-saving skill, like knowing how to put a mugger in an arm-lock or the best way to cut open a mango without slicing your hand.”