Borges beat me to it / by mrm

"...It was time [abu-al Hasan] argued, that the old metaphors be renewed; back when Zuhayr compared fate to a blind camel, he said, the figure was arresting - but five hundred years of admiration had worn it very thin. To that verdict, which they had all heard many times before, from many mouths, they all likewise gave their nod. Averoës, however, kept silent. At last he spoke, not so much to the others as to himself.

'Less eloquently,' he said, 'and yet with similar arguments, I myself have sometimes defended the proposition argued now by abu-al-Hasan. In Alexandria there is a saying that only the man who has already committed a crime and repented of it is incapable of that crime; to be free of erroneous opinion, I myself might add, one must at some time have professed it. In his mu'allaqa, Zuhayr says that in the course of his eighty years of pain and glory many is the time he has seen destiny trample men, like an old blind camel; abu-al-Hasan says that that figure no longer makes us marvel. One might reply to that objection in many ways. First, that if the purpose of the poem were to astound, its life would be measured not in centuries but in days, or hours, or perhaps even minutes. Second, that a famous poet is less an inventor than a discoverer. In praise of ibn-Sharaf of Berkha, it has many times been said that only he was capable of imaginging that the stars of the morning sky fall gently, like leaves falling from the trees; if that were true, it wold prove only that the image is trivial. The image that only a single man can shape is an image that interests no man. There are infinite things upon the earth; any one of them can be compared to any other. Comparing stars to leaves is no less arbitrary than comparing them to fish, or birds. On the other hand, every man has surely felt at some moment in his life that destiny is powerful yet clumsy, innocent yet inhuman. It was in order to record that feeling, which may be fleeting or constant but which no man may escape experiencing, that Zuhayr's line was written. No one will ever say better what Zuhayr said there.' "

- Jorge Luis Borges, "Averoës' Search," Collected Fictions, translated by Andrew Huxley