Modern Verse in English, 1900-1950

By David Cecil; Allen Tate | Go to book overview

"The holy night of conception, of rest, the consoling
Darkness when all men are equal,-the wrong and the right,
And the rich and the poor are no longer separate nations,-
They are brothers in night."

This was the song I heard; but the Bone is silent!
Who knows if the sound was that of the dead light calling, --
Of Caesar rolling onward his heart, that stone,
Or the burden of Atlas falling?


Marianne Moore (Am. b. 1887)

The Fish

wade
through black jade.
Of the crew-blue mussel-shells, one keeps
adjusting the ash-heaps;
opening and shutting itself like

an
injured fan.
The barnacles which encrust the side
of the wave, cannot hide
there for the submerged shafts of the

sun,
split like spun
glass, move themselves with spotlight swiftness
into the crevices-
in and out, illuminating

the
turquoise sea
of bodies. The water drives a wedge
of iron through the iron edge
of the cliff; whereupon the stars,

pink
rice-grains, ink-
bespattered jelly-fish, crabs like green
lilies, and submarine
toadstools, slide each on the other.

-300-

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