Poetry Explorer- Classic Contemporary Poetry, SOJOURN IN THE WHALE, by MARIANNE MOORE

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Classic and Contemporary Poetry

SOJOURN IN THE WHALE, by             Poet's Biography
First Line: Trying to open locked doors with a sword, threading
Last Line: The path—rise automatically.
Subject(s): Jonah (bible)

TRYING to open locked doors with a sword, threading
the points of needles, planting shade trees
upside down; swallowed by the opaqueness of one whom the seas
love better than they love you, Ireland—

you have lived and lived on every kind of shortage.
You have been compelled by hags to spin
gold thread from straw and have heard men say: "There is a feminine
temperament in direct contrast to

ours which makes her do these things. Circumscribed by a
heritage of blindness and native
incompetence, she will become wise and will be forced to give
in. Compelled by experience, she

will turn back; water seeks its own level": and you
have smiled. "Water in motion is far
from level." You have seen it when obstacles happened to bar
the path—rise automatically.

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