Complete Poems by Marianne Moore

By Marianne Moore

This definitive version comprises sixty years of Marianne Moore's poems, incorporating her textual content revisions and her personal pleasing notes that exhibit the muse for whole poems and person traces.

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Sample text

It would be inconceivable for the progression to pursue its course unmolested, since it is a progression, for it not to be narrowed down to that single moment of grabbing you and shaking you mercilessly, nor that this moment become the practical meaning of the pattern of events, thus to be terminated "sadder and wiser," drawing the rueful lesson from experience, and yet it was an accident, wasn't it? Not just the part where everything went haywire but the whole thing, a series of accidents complete in themselves and as components fitting into one big accident?

But to have one person's affirmation of the way it happens for him . . Yes, but you do not know this person. He exists, but he is as a stranger for you in your own home. Just his being there beside you makes him a stranger because you can't tell how he got there. Nor can he, or at least he never seems to feel the urge to do so. So you are left with your blurred version slipping into mindlessness, but somehow merely being forced to focus on it brings it back, just for a while, but long enough to remind you that this happened before, and so on until a new occurrence important enough to eclipse all procedural questions and even to join you both in your singularity, reflecting each other's concerns for the first time and at the same moment seeing them vanish like Rumpelstiltskin, furious that you guessed the name.

Will they be defined in terms of what we never were? Will the negative outlines of our never doing define their being, a repoussoir, and so enmesh themselves even more disastrously with their wanting to become? If that were the case it would be better to stop right here, in this room, only to continue breathing so that life might pursue its unwanted course, far from temptations of the future, yes that's it, so that in getting to know you I renounce any right to ulterior commemoration even in the unconscious dreams of those mythical and probably nonexistent beings of whose creation I shall never be aware.

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