Monday, June 21, 2010

Summer Reruns: Marianne Moore What Are Years?

Over the summer, I'll be posting some blog reruns to save a few extra minutes of summertime. Since Kevin and I will be celebrating our TEN YEAR anniversary in a month or so, I thought this one was appropriate...

Marianne Moore: What Are Years? originally posted November 17, 2008

Ten years ago when my husband and I first met, before we were even dating, he made me a birthday card with a Marianne Moore poem handwritten on the back. With my birthday coming around this week, I've been thinking about this poem again.

Moore asserts that courage lies in accepting our mortality, and within those confines, managing to find (if not satisfaction) joy. At the time, I thought Kevin's card was sweet and thoughtful (he knew how much I admired Moore's poetry). But now, ten years later--I woke up this morning, we went through the confines of our daily routine (teeth, face, hair, coffee, work), and laughed about some little thing or another. On our drive to work, I watched the sun glancing off the last surviving leaves dangling from the trees and thought: How pure a thing is joy.

What Are Years?
by Marianne Moore

What is our innocence,
what is our guilt? All are
naked, none is safe. And whence
is courage: the unanswered question,
the resolute doubt, --
dumbly calling, deafly listening--that
in misfortune, even death,
encourages others
and in its defeat, stirs

the soul to be strong? He
sees deep and is glad, who
accedes to mortality
and in his imprisonment rises
upon himself as
the sea in a chasm, struggling to be
free and unable to be,
in its surrendering
finds its continuing.

So he who strongly feels,
behaves. The very bird,
grown taller as he sings, steels
his form straight up. Though he is captive,
his mighty singing
says, satisfaction is a lowly
thing, how pure a thing is joy.
This is mortality,
this is eternity.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Dear Josie,

Marianne Moore's poem reminded me of the last poem found on your Ggrandmother's desk when she passed on. Her Gift never ended...Enjoy! Love, Mom

The Lost Song

Last Autumn, as the leaves began to fall,
I questioned: “Shall I see another Spring?”
So many loved ones gone beyond recall!
My heart-lute stilled…I had no Song to sing.
The Winter was so lonely, and so long…
One day, a bright Sun called me from my room…
Beyond my door, a new bird’s questing song…
I found my first gay crocuses in bloom!
The buds were swelling on my chestnut trees…
New grass was greening. Here, brave tulip shoots
And iris spikes affirmed Spring’s Mystery!
I sensed all Life was straining at its roots.
I, too, felt surge of Joy…release from Pain…
I sought my lute---and found my Song again.
-- Jessie Cameron Alison, 1966
Sharing The Song