Liberty

By Archibald MacLeish 1892–1982 Archibald MacLeish
When liberty is headlong girl
And runs her roads and wends her ways   
Liberty will shriek and whirl
Her showery torch to see it blaze.

When liberty is wedded wife
And keeps the barn and counts the byre   
Liberty amends her life.
She drowns her torch for fear of fire.

Archibald MacLeish, “Liberty” from Collected Poems 1917-1982. Copyright © 1985 by The Estate of Archibald MacLeish. Reprinted with the permission of Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.

Source: Collected Poems 1917-1952 (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 1952)

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Poet Archibald MacLeish 1892–1982

SCHOOL / PERIOD Modern

Subjects Social Commentaries

Poetic Terms Rhymed Stanza, Epigram

 Archibald  MacLeish

Biography

A poet, playwright, lawyer, and statesman, Archibald MacLeish's roots were firmly planted in both the new and the old worlds. His father, the son of a poor shopkeeper in Glasgow, Scotland, was born in 1837—the year of Victoria's coronation as Queen of England—and ran away first to London and then, at the age of eighteen, to Chicago. His mother was a Hillard, a family that, as Dialogues of Archibald MacLeish and Mark Van Doren . . .

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Poem Categorization

SUBJECT Social Commentaries

SCHOOL / PERIOD Modern

Poetic Terms Rhymed Stanza, Epigram

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Originally appeared in Poetry magazine.

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