The closest I get to being a true appreciator of poetry is when I read, or more often, listen to the words of hymns. So, when I came across this sentence the other day (part of an essay called A Defence of Poetry, by Percy Shelley), I immediately thought of how it applies to hymns:
In these hymns there is no doggerel; no botches; nothing put in to patch up the rhyme; no feeble expletives. Here is nothing turgid or bombast, on the one hand, or low and creeping, on the other. Here are no cant expressions; no words without meaning…We talk common sense, both in prose and verse, and use no word but in a fixed and determinate sense…I desire men of taste to judge whether there be not in some of the following hymns the true spirit of poetry, such as cannot be acquired by art and labour, but must be the gift of nature.
And that which is of infinitely more moment than the spirit of poetry, is the spirit of piety. It is in this view chiefly, that I would recommend (the hymnal) to every truly pious reader, as a means of raising or quickening the spirit of devotion; of confirming his faith; of enlivening his hope; and of kindling and increasing his love to God and man. When Poetry thus keeps its place, as the handmaid of Piety, it shall attain, not a poor perishable wreath, but a crown that fadeth not.