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"The function of poetry" wrote Robert Graves, "is religious invocation of the Muse....I cannot think of any true poet from Homer onwards who has not independently recorded his experience of her."1 The Muse, in the case of this Baha'i, is something I am happy to personify, but it is based on, is derived from, has something to do with, several complex and interrelated factors. One is a certain obsessiveness which may have its origins in my bi-polar disorder. This is as close as I can come to "the inspired madman" that Plato refers to in his Phaedrus and his Letters. Dickens refers to 'a beneficent power' which showed him how to write. If such a beneficent power is helping me, and for the most part I am not conscious of it directly, it is those souls who have passed on to the next world and have the power to assist the arts and sciences in this world.

This hypothesis, this causal explanation, is untestable. But Baha'u'llah says I "can benefit through them." Undoubtedly, I am dependent on fertile ideas 'coming' to me, on imaginative responsiveness and allowing ideas to take shape in my poems. I am even more dependent on a sense of wonder and on "new faculties" being created "as standards in the mind" from "the power of the influence" of the writings of Baha'u'llah.2 -Ron Price with thanks to 1 Camille Paglia, Sexual Personae: Art and Decadence From Nefertiti to Emily Dickinson, Vintage Books, NY, 1991, p.672; and 2Horace Holley in The Ocean of His Words, John Hatcher, Wilmeete, 1997, p.3.

It seems to require all I have

to record my testimony,

as you say, Horace,

to new faculties,

new standards in my mind,

any example of the power

of His influence or Theirs.

The beneficent power

bringing these ideas

is quite beyond any

account I might give.

Like alien visitors

They come to us

from another world.

This is the Muse

spoken of

in begone ages

requiring that I become

an artist myself1

and so open that

infinite resource within.

1 John Hatcher, op.cit., p.6.

Ron Price

24 February 2002

Edited by RonPrice

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