immeasurable house of being

Fine and dandy: but, so far as I am concerned, poetry and every other art was and is and forever will be strictly and distinctly a question of individuality. If poetry were anything––like dropping an atombomb––which anyone did, anyone could become a poet merely by doing the neccessary anything; whatever that anything might or might not entale. But (as it happens) poetry is being, not doing. If you wish to follow, even at a distance, the poet’s calling (and here, as always, I speak from my own totally biased and entirely personal point of view) you’ve got to come out of the measurable doing universe into the immeasurable house of being. I am quite aware that, wherever our socalled civilization has slithered, there’s every reward and no punishment for unbeing. But if poetry is your goal, you’ve got to forget all about punishments and all about rewards and all about selfstyled obligations and duties and responsibilities etcetera ad infinitum and remember one thing only: that it’s you––nobody else––who determine your destiny and decide your fate. Nobody else can be alive for you; nor can you be alive for anybody else. Toms can be Dicks and Dicks can be Harrys, but none of them can ever be you. There’s the artist’s responsibility; and the most awful responsibility on earth. If you take it, take it––and be. If you can’t, cheer up and go about other people’s business; and do (or undo) till you drop. ––ee cummings, “six nonlectures.” 24