Poetry Explorer- Classic Contemporary Poetry, WHEN I BUY PICTURES, by MARIANNE MOORE



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WHEN I BUY PICTURES, by             Poet's Biography
First Line: Or what is closer to the truth
Last Line: It must acknowledge the spiritual forces which have made it.
Subject(s): Art & Artists


Or what is closer to the truth,
when I look at that of which I may regard myself as the imaginary possessor,
I fix upon what would give me pleasure in my average moments:
the satire upon curiosity in which no more is discernible than
the intensity of the mood;
or quite the opposite—the old thing, the mediæval decorated hat-box,
in which there are hounds with waists diminishing like the waist of the
hourglass
and deer and birds and seated people;
it may be no more than a square of parquetry; the literal biography perhaps,
in letters standing well apart upon a parchment-like expanse;
an artichoke in six varieties of blue; the snipe-legged hieroglyphic in three
parts;
the silver fence protecting Adam's grave, or Michael taking Adam by the wrist.
Too stern an intellectual emphasis upon this quality or that, detracts from
one's enjoyment;
it must not wish to disarm anything; nor may the approved triumph easily be
honored—
that which is great because something else is small.
It comes to this: of whatever sort it is,
it must be "lit with piercing glances into the life of things";
it must acknowledge the spiritual forces which have made it.





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