Summer 1940 • Vol. II No. 3 Poetry |

What Are Years?

  What is our innocence,what is our guilt?  All are  naked, none is safe. And whenceis courage: the unanswered question,the resolute doubt,—dumbly calling, deafly listening — thatin misfortune, even death,  encourages others  and in its defeat, stirs the soul to be strong?  Hesees deep and is glad, who  accedes to mortalityand in his imprisonment, risesupon himself asthe sea in a chasm, struggling to befree and unable to be,  in its surrendering  finds its continuing.   So he who strongly feels,behaves.  The very bird,  grown taller as he sings, steelshis form straight up though he is captive.His mighty singingsays; satisfaction is a lowlything, how pure a thing is joy.  This is mortality,  this is eternity.

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Marianne Moore published multiple books of poetry. She won the National Book Award, the Pulitzer Prize, and the Bollingen Prize. Her poems appeared in the Nation, the New Republic, Partisan Review, and the New Yorker.

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