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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.

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by Marianne Moore | |

Rosemary

 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.


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.


by Marianne Moore | |

The Fish

 wade
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.


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by Marianne Moore | |

Poetry

 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.


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.


by Marianne Moore | |

Silence

 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.


by Marianne Moore | |

Nevertheless

 you've seen a strawberry
that's had a struggle; yet
was, where the fragments met,

a hedgehog or a star-
fish for the multitude
of seeds.
What better food than apple seeds - the fruit within the fruit - locked in like counter-curved twin hazelnuts? Frost that kills the little rubber-plant - leaves of kok-sagyyz-stalks, can't harm the roots; they still grow in frozen ground.
Once where there was a prickley-pear - leaf clinging to a barbed wire, a root shot down to grow in earth two feet below; as carrots from mandrakes or a ram's-horn root some- times.
Victory won't come to me unless I go to it; a grape tendril ties a knot in knots till knotted thirty times - so the bound twig that's under- gone and over-gone, can't stir.
The weak overcomes its menace, the strong over- comes itself.
What is there like fortitude! What sap went through that little thread to make the cherry red!


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.


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.


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.


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.


by Marianne Moore | |

He Made This Screen

 not of silver nor of coral, 
but of weatherbeaten laurel.
Here, he introduced a sea uniform like tapestry; here, a fig-tree; there, a face; there, a dragon circling space -- designating here, a bower; there, a pointed passion-flower.


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.