Wednesday, February 9, 2011

all the history of grief

Archibald MacLeish "Ars Poetica" (1926)
A poem should be palpable and mute
As a globed fruit,

Dumb
As old medallions to the thumb,

Silent as the sleeve-worn stone
Of casement ledges where the moss has grown --

A poem should be wordless
As the flight of birds.

                    *

A poem should be motionless in time
As the moon climbs,

Leaving, as the moon releases
Twig by twig the night-entangled trees,

Leaving, as the moon behind the winter leaves,
Memory by memory the mind --

A poem should be motionless in time
As the moon climbs.

                    *

A poem should be equal to
Not true.

For all the history of grief
An empty doorway and a maple leaf.

For love
The leaning grasses and two lights above the sea --

A poem should not mean
But be.

4 comments:

  1. I've loved this poem for so long, as "motionless in time / As the moon climbs" !

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  2. I love that you posted this. You made my afternoon--thank you.
    -Lynn @ skydiaries.wordpress.com

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  3. I'm glad good poetry gets a following.

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  4. By the way, Lynn, thank him most :

    http://shigekuni.wordpress.com/2011/02/08/all-the-history-of-grief/

    ReplyDelete