The Foggy, Foggy Blue

By Delmore Schwartz 1913–1966 Delmore Schwartz
When I was a young man, I loved to write poems   
         And I called a spade a spade
And the only only thing that made me sing   
         Was to lift the masks at the masquerade.   
I took them off my own face,
         I took them off others too
And the only only wrong in all my song
         Was the view that I knew what was true.

Now I am older and tireder too
         And the tasks with the masks are quite trying.   
I’d gladly gladly stop if I only only knew
         A better way to keep from lying,   
And not get nervous and blue
         When I said something quite untrue:   
I looked all around and all over
         To find something else to do:   
I tried to be less romantic
         I tried to be less starry-eyed too:   
But I only got mixed up and frantic
         Forgetting what was false and what was true.

But tonight I am going to the masked ball,
         Because it has occurred to me
That the masks are more true than the faces:
         —Perhaps this too is poetry?
I no longer yearn to be naïve and stern
         And masked balls fascinate me:
Now that I know that most falsehoods are true
         Perhaps I can join the charade?   
This is, at any rate, my new and true view:
         Let live and believe, I say.
The only only thing is to believe in everything:
         It’s more fun and safer that way!

Delmore Schwartz, “The Foggy, Foggy Blue” from Selected Poems (1938-1958): Summer Knowledge. Copyright © 1967 by Delmore Schwartz. Reprinted with the permission of New Directions Publishing Corporation, www.wwnorton.com/nd/welcome.htm.

Source: Selected Poems (1938-1958): Summer Knowledge (New Directions Publishing Corporation, 1967)

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Poet Delmore Schwartz 1913–1966

Subjects Life Choices, Growing Old, Poetry & Poets, Living, Arts & Sciences

Poetic Terms Ballad

 Delmore  Schwartz

Biography

Delmore Schwartz had, writes Alfred Kazin, "a feeling for literary honor, for the highest standards, that one can only call noble—he loved the nobility of example presented by the greatest writers of our century, and he wanted in this sense to be noble himself, a light unto the less talented.... So he suffered, unceasingly, because he had often to disappoint himself—because the world turned steadily more irrational and . . .

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SUBJECT Life Choices, Growing Old, Poetry & Poets, Living, Arts & Sciences

Poetic Terms Ballad

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Originally appeared in Poetry magazine.

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