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To An Artificer

January 19, 2010

Marianne Moore Not of silver nor of coral
But of weather-beaten laurel
Carve it out.

Make a body long and thin
And carve hairs upon the skin.
Make a snout.

On the order of a tower
Faintly wrinkled like a flower
On the paws

Carve out heavy feline toes
Make each claw an eagle’s nose.
Carve great jaws.

—Marianne Moore

Bonus: this from a letter Marianne Moore wrote to Robert McAlmon on September 2, 1921, found on page 179 of her Selected Letters:

You are right; the intellect has not the last word today—any more than it ever had.  Sophistication is no match for nature and as I have written Bryher, I have a respect for nature, blind or conscious.  The blind instinctive behavior of old fashioned unenlightened society has many advantages over our conscious behavior today; psychoanalysis is a fascinating study and in some ways a useful one but it pre-empts too much of the mind and people tend to feel that a situation analyzed is a situation solved.  In rapping marriage on the head as it sometimes does, it is unscientific—when you consider the evolution of the marriage relation and the instinctive tendency to idealize it, and to explain religion away is ludicrously superficial.  Religious conviction, art, and animal impulse, are the strongest factors in life, I think, and any one in the ascendant can obliterate the others.  We see different phases of them, for example, Bryher’s interest in education and in securing freedom to the race, are a tangent of religion.  Religion may be pigeonholed as a transference but religious conviction in operation has always made room for itself over the head of every obstacle.  It is apparent that sincerely religious people are contented and are not easily at their wit’s end.



November 7, 2007

Ummm apparently Wallace Steven’s birthday was in October (so is mine, I’m 30 now). While I was googling a Steven’s poem (the nougat poem, unfortunately, is not on the web in full text, I’ll have to wait till I get home to type it out from the book) and found this most amusing of blogs… the whole month of October seems to be one Wallace-orgy-fest!

Emperor of Ice-Cream Cakes probably the most genius blog I’ve ever read in the last 5 minutes!