Poems By Marianne Moore

Diligence Is to Magic as Progress Is to Flight

With an elephant to ride upon—“with rings on her fingers and bells on her toes,”
she shall outdistance calamity anywhere she goes.
Speed is not in her mind inseparable from carpets. Locomotion arose
in the shape of an elephant; she clambered up and chose
laboriously. So far as magic carpets are concerned, she knows
that although the semblance of speed may attach to scarecrows
of aesthetic procedure, the substance of it is embodied in such of those
tough-grained animals as have outstripped man’s whim to suppose
them ephemera, and have earned that fruit of their ability to endure blows
which dubs them prosaic necessities—not curios.

You Are Very Pensive—Hammering Out in Darkness What Will Not Bear the Light of Day

The sure
Measure of failure
Will bring
What you are doing
To naught.
I’m not sure it ought
Not to
And neither are you.

[The Poems of Marianne Moore]

From The Poems of Marianne Moore, edited by Grace Schulman.

Eddie Kohler