George Moore

By Marianne Moore 1887–1972 Marianne Moore
In speaking of ‘aspiration,’
   From the recesses of a pen more dolorous than blackness         
       itself,
      Were you presenting us with one more form of imperturbable
          French drollery,
      Or was it self directed banter?
         Habitual ennui
            Took from you, your invisible, hot helmet of anaemia—
      While you were filling your “little glass” from the
               decanter
            Of a transparent-murky, would-be-truthful “hobohemia”—
         And then facetiously
      Went off with it?   Your soul’s supplanter,
   The spirit of good narrative, flatters you, convinced that
            in reporting briefly
One choice incident, you have known beauty other than that      
          of stys, on
Which to fix your admiration.

                So far as the future is concerned,
“Shall not one say, with the Russian philosopher,
    ‘How is one to know what one doesn’t know?’”
                So far as the present is concerned,

If external action is effete
    And rhyme is outmoded,
       I shall revert to you,
    Habakkuk, as on a recent occasion I was goaded
         Into doing, by XY, who was speaking of unrhymed                     
                  verse.
This man said—I think that I repeat
   His identical words:
      “Hebrew poetry is
   Prose with a sort of heightened consciousness.   ‘Ecstacy
                affords
         The occasion and expediency determines the form.’”


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Poet Marianne Moore 1887–1972

POET’S REGION U.S., Mid-Atlantic

SCHOOL / PERIOD Modern

Subjects Arts & Sciences, Humor & Satire

 Marianne  Moore

Biography

One of American literature’s foremost poets, Marianne Moore’s poetry is characterized by linguistic precision, keen and probing descriptions, and acute observations of people, places, animals, and art. Her poems often reflect her preoccupation with the relationships between the common and the uncommon, as well as advocate discipline in both art and life, and espouse restraint, modesty, and humor. She frequently used animals as a . . .

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Poem Categorization

SUBJECT Arts & Sciences, Humor & Satire

POET’S REGION U.S., Mid-Atlantic

SCHOOL / PERIOD Modern

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Originally appeared in Poetry magazine.

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