The task of poetry, perhaps, is the salvage a trace of the authentic from the wreckage of religious, philosophical and political systems.
Next, one wants to write a poem so well crafted that it would do honor to the tradition of Emily Dickinson, Ezra Pound and Wallace Stevens, to name only a few.
At the same time, one hopes to rewrite that tradition, subvert it, turn it upside down and make some living space for oneself.
At the same time, one wants to entertain the reader with outrageous metaphors, flights of imagination and heartbreaking pronouncements.
At the same time, one has, for the most part, no idea of what one is doing. Words make love on the page like flies in the summer heat and the poet is merely the bemused spectator. The poem is as much a result of chance as of intention. Probably more so.
At the same time, one hopes to be read and loved in China in a thousand years the same way the ancient Chinese poets are loved and read in our own day, and so forth.
The is a small order from a large menu requiring one of those many-armed Indian divinities to serve as a waiter.
One great defect of poetry, or one of its sublime attractions — depending on your view — is that it wants to include everything. In the cold light of reason, poetry is impossible to write.