Sunday, September 23, 2012

When I Buy Pictures

When I Buy Pictures by Marianne Moore

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  
the satire upon curiousity in which no more is discernible

   than the intensity of the mood;
or quite the opposite--the old thing, the medieval
   decorated hat-box,
in which there are hounds with waists diminishing like the
   waist of the hour-glass,
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
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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