The supreme poet -- Pindar, Sophocles, Holderlin -- is preeminently the shepherd of being. In the midst of a nihilism and waste of spirit of which his own vulnerable social and psychological status make him the most acute and also the most endangered of witnesses, it is the poet who, supremely, perhaps even alone, is guarantor of man's ultimate Heimkehrm ("homecoming") to natural truth, to a sanctified hearth in the world of beings.

It is the poet's calling -- literal, soul-consuming, imperative to the point of personal ruin -- to bring creation into the neighborhood of the divine.

It is he whom lightning seeks. He must receive the hammering fire and give it lodging.

But although he may part with his reason and his very life, the poet has held Seinm in his pastoral guard, and this capture or, rather, reception and offertory acceptance, illumines, validates, and underwrites man's potential in a way that no theology, no metaphysics, no scientific theory, no technological wonder can equal. Authentic poetry, which is exceedingly rare, is 'the real estate, the fundamental resource on earth, of man's habitation'.

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