Poetry Explorer- Classic Contemporary Poetry, CRITICS AND CONNOISSEURS, by MARIANNE MOORE

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Classic and Contemporary Poetry

CRITICS AND CONNOISSEURS, by             Poet's Biography
First Line: There is a great amount of poetry in unconscious
Last Line: Of carrying a stick?
Subject(s): Critics & Criticism; Poetry & Poets

THERE is a great amount of poetry in unconscious
fastidiousness. Certain Ming
products, imperial floor coverings of coach
wheel yellow, are well enough in their way but I have seen something
that I like better—a
mere childish attempt to make an imperfectly
ballasted animal stand up,
similar determination to make a pup
eat his meat on the plate.

I remember a swan under the willows in Oxford
with flamingo colored, maple-leaflike
fleet. It reconnoitered like a battle
ship. Disbelief and conscious fastidiousness were the staple
ingredients in its
disinclination to move. Finally its hardihood
was not proof against its
proclivity to more fully appraise such bits
of food as the stream

bore counter to it; it made away with what I gave it
to eat. I have seen this swan and
I have seen you; I have seen ambition without
understanding in a variety of forms. Happening to stand
by an ant hill, I have
seen a fastidious ant carrying a stick, north,
south, east, west, till it turned on
itself, struck out from the flower bed into the lawn,
and returned to the point

from which it had started. Then abandoning the stick as
useless and overtaxing its
jaws with a particle of whitewash pill-like but
heavy, it again went through the same course of procedure. What is
there in being able
to say that one has dominated the stream in an
attitude of self defense,
in proving that one has had the experience
of carrying a stick?

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