Marianne Moore--American

 

         

Marianne Moore
(1887-1972)

 

Born in 1887, Moore spent her younger years moving with her family between the homes of relatives.  She attended Bryn Mawr College and graduated in 1901, taught briefly at the Carlisle Indian School, and in 1918 moved with to New York City.  In 1921 she became an assistant at the New York Public Library where she met a number of poets, including William Carlos Williams and Wallace Stevens.  During this time she contributed to a prestigious literary magazine, the Dial.  She became editor of the Dial from 1925 to 1929 and became a member of the Imagist writing movement along with Pound, Williams and Hilda Doolittle (H.D.).  Doolittle published Moore’s first collection of verse, simply titled Poems, without her knowledge.  Moore received the Pulitzer, the National Book Award and the Bollingen prize for her writing.  She died in 1972.


Keeping Their World Large

 

All too literally, their flesh and their spirit are our shield

New York Times, June 7, 1944

 

I should like to see that country’s tiles, bedrooms, stone patios

and ancient wells: Rinaldo

Caramonica’s the cobbler’s, Frank Sblendorio’s

and Dominick Angelastro’s country—

the grocer’s, the iceman’s the dancer’s—the

beautiful Miss Damiano’s; wisdom’s

 

and all angels’ Italy, this Christmas Day

this Christmas year.

a noiseless piano, an

innocent war, the heart that can act against itself.  Here,

each unlike and all alike, could

so many—stumbling, falling, multiplied

till bodies lay as ground to walk on—

 

“If Christ and the apostles died in vain,

I’ll die in vain with them”

against this way of victory.

that forest of white crosses!

my eyes won’t close to it.

 

All laid like animals for sacrifice—

like Isaac on the mount,

were their own sacrifice.

 

Marching to death, marching to life?

“Keeping their world large,”

whose spirits and whose bodies

all too literally were our shield,

are still our shield.

 

They fought the enemy,

we fight fat living and self-pity

shine, o shine,

unfalsifying sun, on this sick scene.