Submit Your Poems
Get Your Premium Membership

CreationEarth Nature Photos

Best Famous Marianne Moore Poems

Here is a collection of the all-time best famous Marianne Moore poems. This is a select list of the best famous Marianne Moore poetry. Reading, writing, and enjoying famous Marianne Moore poetry (as well as classical and contemporary poems) is a great past time. These top poems are the best examples of Marianne Moore poems.

Search for the best famous Marianne Moore poems, articles about Marianne Moore poems, poetry blogs, or anything else Marianne Moore poem related using the PoetrySoup search engine at the top of the page.

See also:

Famous poems below this ad
Written by Elizabeth Bishop |

Invitation to Miss Marianne Moore

From Brooklyn, over the Brooklyn Bridge, on this fine morning,
please come flying.
In a cloud of fiery pale chemicals, please come flying, to the rapid rolling of thousands of small blue drums descending out of the mackerel sky over the glittering grandstand of harbor-water, please come flying.
Whistles, pennants and smoke are blowing.
The ships are signaling cordially with multitudes of flags rising and falling like birds all over the harbor.
Enter: two rivers, gracefully bearing countless little pellucid jellies in cut-glass epergnes dragging with silver chains.
The flight is safe; the weather is all arranged.
The waves are running in verses this fine morning.
Please come flying.
Come with the pointed toe of each black shoe trailing a sapphire highlight, with a black capeful of butterfly wings and bon-mots, with heaven knows how many angels all riding on the broad black brim of your hat, please come flying.
Bearing a musical inaudible abacus, a slight censorious frown, and blue ribbons, please come flying.
Facts and skyscrapers glint in the tide; Manhattan is all awash with morals this fine morning, so please come flying.
Mounting the sky with natural heroism, above the accidents, above the malignant movies, the taxicabs and injustices at large, while horns are resounding in your beautiful ears that simultaneously listen to a soft uninvented music, fit for the musk deer, please come flying.
For whom the grim museums will behave like courteous male bower-birds, for whom the agreeable lions lie in wait on the steps of the Public Library, eager to rise and follow through the doors up into the reading rooms, please come flying.
We can sit down and weep; we can go shopping, or play at a game of constantly being wrong with a priceless set of vocabularies, or we can bravely deplore, but please please come flying.
With dynasties of negative constructions darkening and dying around you, with grammar that suddenly turns and shines like flocks of sandpipers flying, please come flying.
Come like a light in the white mackerel sky, come like a daytime comet with a long unnebulous train of words, from Brooklyn, over the Brooklyn Bridge, on this fine morning, please come flying.

Written by Marianne Moore |

A Grave

 Man looking into the sea,
taking the view from those who have as much right to it as
 you have to it yourself,
it is human nature to stand in the middle of a thing,
but you cannot stand in the middle of this;
the sea has nothing to give but a well excavated grave.
The firs stand in a procession, each with an emerald turkey— foot at the top, reserved as their contours, saying nothing; repression, however, is not the most obvious characteristic of the sea; the sea is a collector, quick to return a rapacious look.
There are others besides you who have worn that look— whose expression is no longer a protest; the fish no longer investigate them for their bones have not lasted: men lower nets, unconscious of the fact that they are desecrating a grave, and row quickly away-the blades of the oars moving together like the feet of water-spiders as if there were no such thing as death.
The wrinkles progress among themselves in a phalanx— beautiful under networks of foam, and fade breathlessly while the sea rustles in and out of the seaweed; the birds swim through the air at top speed, emitting cat-calls as heretofore— the tortoise-shell scourges about the feet of the cliffs, in motion beneath them; and the ocean, under the pulsation of lighthouses and noise of bell-bouys, advances as usual, looking as if it were not that ocean in which dropped things are bound to sink— in which if they turn and twist, it is neither with volition nor consciousness.

Written by Marianne Moore |

The Past is the Present

 If external action is effete
and rhyme is outmoded,
I shall revert to you,
Habakkuk, as when in a Bible class
the teacher was speaking of unrhymed verse.
He said - and I think I repeat his exact words - "Hebrew poetry is prose with a sort of heightened consciousness.
" Ecstasy affords the occasion and expediency determines the form.

More great poems below...

Written by Marianne Moore |

Baseball and Writing

Writing is exciting and baseball is like writing.
You can never tell with either how it will go or what you will do; generating excitement-- a fever in the victim-- pitcher, catcher, fielder, batter.
Victim in what category? Owlman watching from the press box? To whom does it apply? Who is excited?Might it be I? It's a pitcher's battle all the way--a duel-- a catcher's, as, with cruel puma paw, Elston Howard lumbers lightly back to plate.
(His spring de-winged a bat swing.
) They have that killer instinct; yet Elston--whose catching arm has hurt them all with the bat-- when questioned, says, unenviously, "I'm very satisfied.
We won.
" Shorn of the batting crown, says, "We"; robbed by a technicality.
When three players on a side play three positions and modify conditions, the massive run need not be everything.
"Going, going .
"Is it?Roger Maris has it, running fast.
You will never see a finer catch.
Well .
"Mickey, leaping like the devil"--why gild it, although deer sounds better-- snares what was speeding towards its treetop nest, one-handing the souvenir-to-be meant to be caught by you or me.
Assign Yogi Berra to Cape Canaveral; he could handle any missile.
He is no feather.
"Strike! .
Strike two!" Fouled back.
A blur.
It's gone.
You would infer that the bat had eyes.
He put the wood to that one.
Praised, Skowron says, "Thanks, Mel.
I think I helped a little bit.
" All business, each, and modesty.
Blanchard, Richardson, Kubek, Boyer.
In that galaxy of nine, say which won the pennant?Each.
It was he.
Those two magnificent saves from the knee-throws by Boyer, finesses in twos-- like Whitey's three kinds of pitch and pre- diagnosis with pick-off psychosis.
Pitching is a large subject.
Your arm, too true at first, can learn to catch your corners--even trouble Mickey Mantle.
("Grazed a Yankee! My baby pitcher, Montejo!" With some pedagogy, you'll be tough, premature prodigy.
) They crowd him and curve him and aim for the knees.
Trying indeed!The secret implying: "I can stand here, bat held steady.
" One may suit him; none has hit him.
Imponderables smite him.
Muscle kinks, infections, spike wounds require food, rest, respite from ruffians.
(Drat it! Celebrity costs privacy!) Cow's milk, "tiger's milk," soy milk, carrot juice, brewer's yeast (high-potency-- concentrates presage victory sped by Luis Arroyo, Hector Lopez-- deadly in a pinch.
And "Yes, it's work; I want you to bear down, but enjoy it while you're doing it.
" Mr.
Houk and Mr.
Sain, if you have a rummage sale, don't sell Roland Sheldon or Tom Tresh.
Studded with stars in belt and crown, the Stadium is an adastrium.
O flashing Orion, your stars are muscled like the lion.

Written by Marianne Moore |


 I, too, dislike it: there are things that are important beyond all 
 this fiddle.
Reading it, however, with a perfect contempt for it, one discovers in it after all, a place for the genuine.
Hands that can grasp, eyes that can dilate, hair that can rise if it must, these things are important not because a high-sounding interpretation can be put upon them but because they are useful.
When they become so derivative as to become unintelligible, the same thing may be said for all of us, that we do not admire what we cannot understand: the bat holding on upside down or in quest of something to eat, elephants pushing, a wild horse taking a roll, a tireless wolf under a tree, the immovable critic twitching his skin like a horse that feels a flea, the base- ball fan, the statistician-- nor is it valid to discriminate against 'business documents and school-books'; all these phenomena are important.
One must make a distinction however: when dragged into prominence by half poets, the result is not poetry, nor till the poets among us can be 'literalists of the imagination'--above insolence and triviality and can present for inspection, 'imaginary gardens with real toads in them', shall we have it.
In the meantime, if you demand on the one hand, the raw material of poetry in all its rawness and that which is on the other hand genuine, you are interested in poetry.

Written by Marianne Moore |

The Fish

through black jade.
Of the crow-blue mussel-shells, one keeps adjusting the ash-heaps; opening and shutting itself like an injured fan.
The barnacles which encrust the side of the wave, cannot hide there for the submerged shafts of the sun, split like spun glass, move themselves with spotlight swiftness into the crevices— in and out, illuminating the turquoise sea of bodies.
The water drives a wedge of iron throught the iron edge of the cliff; whereupon the stars, pink rice-grains, ink- bespattered jelly fish, crabs like green lilies, and submarine toadstools, slide each on the other.
All external marks of abuse are present on this defiant edifice— all the physical features of ac- cident—lack of cornice, dynamite grooves, burns, and hatchet strokes, these things stand out on it; the chasm-side is dead.
Repeated evidence ahs proved that it can live on what can not revive its youth.
The sea grows old in it.

Written by Marianne Moore |


 My father used to say,
"Superior people never make long visits,
have to be shown Longfellow's grave
nor the glass flowers at Harvard.
Self reliant like the cat -- that takes its prey to privacy, the mouse's limp tail hanging like a shoelace from its mouth -- they sometimes enjoy solitude, and can be robbed of speech by speech which has delighted them.
The deepest feeling always shows itself in silence; not in silence, but restraint.
" Nor was he insincere in saying, "Make my house your inn.
" Inns are not residences.

Written by Marianne Moore |

No Swan So Fine

 "No water so still as the
dead fountains of Versailles.
" No swan, with swart blind look askance and gondoliering legs, so fine as the chinz china one with fawn- brown eyes and toothed gold collar on to show whose bird it was.
Lodged in the Louis Fifteenth candelabrum-tree of cockscomb- tinted buttons, dahlias, sea-urchins, and everlastings, it perches on the branching foam of polished sculptured flowers--at ease and tall.
The king is dead.

Written by David Lehman |


 for Jim Cummins 

In Iowa, Jim dreamed that Della Street was Anne Sexton's
Dave drew a comic strip called the "Adventures of Whitman," about a bearded beer-guzzler in Superman uniform.
Donna dressed like Wallace Stevens in a seersucker summer suit.
To town came Ted Berrigan, saying, "My idea of a bad poet is Marvin Bell.
" But no one has won as many prizes as Philip Levine.
At the restaurant, people were talking about Philip Levine's latest: the Pulitzer.
A toast was proposed by Anne Sexton.
No one saw the stranger, who said his name was Marvin Bell, pour something into Donna's drink.
"In the Walt Whitman Shopping Center, there you feel free," said Ted Berrigan, pulling on a Chesterfield.
Everyone laughed, except T.
I asked for directions.
"You turn right on Gertrude Stein, then bear left.
Three streetlights down you hang a Phil Levine and you're there," Jim said.
When I arrived I saw Ted Berrigan with cigarette ash in his beard.
Graffiti about Anne Sexton decorated the men's room walls.
Beth had bought a quart of Walt Whitman.
Donna looked blank.
"Walt who?" The name didn't ring a Marvin Bell.
You laugh, yet there is nothing inherently funny about Marvin Bell.
You cry, yet there is nothing inherently scary about Robert Lowell.
You drink a bottle of Samuel Smith's Nut Brown Ale, as thirsty as Walt Whitman.
You bring in your car for an oil change, thinking, this place has the aura of Philip Levine.
Then you go home and write: "He kissed her Anne Sexton, and she returned the favor, caressing his Ted Berrigan.
" Donna was candid.
"When the spirit of Ted Berrigan comes over me, I can't resist," she told Marvin Bell, while he stood dejected at the xerox machine.
Anne Sexton came by to circulate the rumor that Robert Duncan had flung his drink on a student who had called him Philip Levine.
The cop read him the riot act.
"I don't care," he said, "if you're Walt Whitman.
" Donna told Beth about her affair with Walt Whitman.
"He was indefatigable, but he wasn't Ted Berrigan.
" The Dow Jones industrials finished higher, led by Philip Levine, up a point and a half on strong earnings.
Marvin Bell ended the day unchanged.
Analyst Richard Howard recommended buying May Swenson and selling Anne Sexton.
In the old days, you liked either Walt Whitman or Anne Sexton, not both.
Ted Berrigan changed that just by going to a ballgame with Marianne Moore.
And one day Philip Levine looked in the mirror and saw Marvin Bell.

Written by Marianne Moore |

To a Steam Roller

 The illustration
is nothing to you without the application.
You lack half wit.
You crush all the particles down into close conformity, and then walk back and forth on them.
Sparkling chips of rock are crushed down to the level of the parent block.
Were not 'impersonal judment in aesthetic matters, a metaphysical impossibility,' you might fairly achieve it.
As for butterflies, I can hardly conceive of one's attending upon you, but to question the congruence of the complement is vain, if it exists.

Written by Marianne Moore |

Spensers Ireland

 has not altered;--
a place as kind as it is green,
the greenest place I've never seen.
Every name is a tune.
Denunciations do not affect the culprit; nor blows, but it is torture to him to not be spoken to.
They're natural,-- the coat, like Venus' mantle lined with stars, buttoned close at the neck,-the sleeves new from disuse.
If in Ireland they play the harp backward at need, and gather at midday the seed of the fern, eluding their "giants all covered with iron," might there be fern seed for unlearn- ing obduracy and for reinstating the enchantment? Hindered characters seldom have mothers in Irish stories, but they all have grandmothers.
It was Irish; a match not a marriage was made when my great great grandmother'd said with native genius for disunion, "Although your suitor be perfection, one objection is enough; he is not Irish.
"Outwitting the fairies, befriending the furies, whoever again and again says, "I'll never give in," never sees that you're not free until you've been made captive by supreme belief,--credulity you say?When large dainty fingers tremblingly divide the wings of the fly for mid-July with a needle and wrap it with peacock-tail, or tie wool and buzzard's wing, their pride, like the enchanter's is in care, not madness.
Concurring hands divide flax for damask that when bleached by Irish weather has the silvered chamois-leather water-tightness of a skin.
Twisted torcs and gold new-moon-shaped lunulae aren't jewelry like the purple-coral fuchsia-tree's.
Eire-- the guillemot so neat and the hen of the heath and the linnet spinet-sweet-bespeak relentlessness?Then they are to me like enchanted Earl Gerald who changed himself into a stag, to a great green-eyed cat of the mountain.
Discommodity makes them invisible; they've dis- appeared.
The Irish say your trouble is their trouble and your joy their joy?I wish I could believe it; I am troubled, I'm dissatisfied, I'm Irish.

Written by Jack Spicer |

Fifteen False Propositions Against God - Section XIV

 If the diamond ring turns brass
Mama's going to buy you a looking glass
Marianne Moore and Ezra Pound and William Carlos Williams
going on a picnic together when they were all students at the
University of Pennsylvania
Now they are all over seventy and the absent baby
Is a mirror sheltering their image.

Written by Marianne Moore |


 Beauty and Beauty's son and rosemary - 
Venus and Love, her son, to speak plainly -
born of the sea supposedly, 
at Christmas each, in company, 
braids a garland of festivity.
Not always rosemary - since the flight to Egypt, blooming indifferently.
With lancelike leaf, green but silver underneath, its flowers - white originally - turned blue.
The herb of memory, imitating the blue robe of Mary, is not too legendary to flower both as symbol and as pungency.
Springing from stones beside the sea, the height of Christ when he was thirty-three, it feeds on dew and to the bee "hath a dumb language"; is in reality a kind of Christmas tree.

Written by Marianne Moore |

He Digesteth Harde Yron

 Although the aepyornis
or roc that lived in Madagascar, and
the moa are extinct,
the camel-sparrow, linked
with them in size--the large sparrow
Xenophon saw walking by a stream--was and is
a symbol of justice.
This bird watches his chicks with a maternal concentration-and he's been mothering the eggs at night six weeks--his legs their only weapon of defense.
He is swifter than a horse; he has a foot hard as a hoof; the leopard is not more suspicious.
How could he, prized for plumes and eggs and young used even as a riding-beast, respect men hiding actor-like in ostrich skins, with the right hand making the neck move as if alive and from a bag the left hand strewing grain, that ostriches might be decoyed and killed!Yes, this is he whose plume was anciently the plume of justice; he whose comic duckling head on its great neck revolves with compass-needle nervousness when he stands guard, in S-like foragings as he is preening the down on his leaden-skinned back.
The egg piously shown as Leda's very own from which Castor and Pollux hatched, was an ostrich-egg.
And what could have been more fit for the Chinese lawn it grazed on as a gift to an emperor who admired strange birds, than this one, who builds his mud-made nest in dust yet will wade in lake or sea till only the head shows.
Six hundred ostrich-brains served at one banquet, the ostrich-plume-tipped tent and desert spear, jewel- gorgeous ugly egg-shell goblets, eight pairs of ostriches in harness, dramatize a meaning always missed by the externalist.
The power of the visible is the invisible; as even where no tree of freedom grows, so-called brute courage knows.
Heroism is exhausting, yet it contradicts a greed that did not wisely spare the harmless solitaire or great auk in its grandeur; unsolicitude having swallowed up all giant birds but an alert gargantuan little-winged, magnificently speedy running-bird.
This one remaining rebel is the sparrow-camel.

Written by Marianne Moore |

The Paper Nautilus

 For authorities whose hopes
are shaped by mercenaries?
Writers entrapped by
teatime fame and by
commuters' comforts? Not for these
the paper nautilus
constructs her thin glass shell.
Giving her perishable souvenir of hope, a dull white outside and smooth- edged inner surface glossy as the sea, the watchful maker of it guards it day and night; she scarcely eats until the eggs are hatched.
Buried eight-fold in her eight arms, for she is in a sense a devil- fish, her glass ram'shorn-cradled freight is hid but is not crushed; as Hercules, bitten by a crab loyal to the hydra, was hindered to succeed, the intensively watched eggs coming from the shell free it when they are freed,-- leaving its wasp-nest flaws of white on white, and close- laid Ionic chiton-folds like the lines in the mane of a Parthenon horse, round which the arms had wound themselves as if they knew love is the only fortress strong enough to trust to.