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Ars Poetica

 A poem should be palpable and mute
As a globed fruit,

As old medallions to the thumb,

Silent as the sleeve-worn stone
Of casement ledges where the moss has grown-- 

A poem should be wordless
As the flight of birds.
* A poem should be motionless in time As the moon climbs, Leaving, as the moon releases Twig by twig the night-entangled trees, Leaving, as the moon behind the winter leaves, Memory by memory the mind-- A poem should be motionless in time As the moon climbs.
* A poem should be equal to: Not true.
For all the history of grief An empty doorway and a maple leaf.
For love The leaning grasses and two lights above the sea-- A poem should not mean But be.

by Archibald MacLeish
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