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
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
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
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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