Poetry with its Bright Palaces
The distinctive features of the world's civilisations are not simply and solely the giraffe and the city of Rome, as the children may perhaps have been led to imagine on the first evening, but also the elephant and the country of Denmark, beside many other things. Yes, everyday brought its new animal and its new country, its new kings and its new gods, its quota of those tough little figures which seem to have no significance, but are nevertheless endowed with a life and a value of their own, and may be added together or subtracted from one another at will. And finally poetry, which is grater than any country; poetry with its bright palaces.
Halldór Laxness, in 'Independent People'