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
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
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
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