various sounds, consistently indistinct, like intermingled echoes
   struck from thin glasses successively at random—
       the inflection disguised: your hair, the tails of two
   fighting-cocks head to head in stone—
       like sculptured scimitars repeating the curve of your   
               ears in reverse order:   
                                                                        your eyes,
             flowers of ice and snow

sown by tearing winds on the cordage of disabled ships: your
       raised hand
an ambiguous signature: your cheeks, those rosettes
   of blood on the stone floors of French châteaux,
with regard to which the guides are so affirmative—
          your other hand

a bundle of lances all alike, partly hid by emeralds from Persia
    and the fractional magnificence of Florentine
       goldwork—a collection of little objects—
sapphires set with emeralds, and pearls with a moonstone, made fine
   with enamel in gray, yellow, and dragonfly blue;
      a lemon, a pear

and three bunches of grapes, tied with silver: your dress, a magnificent square
cathedral tower of uniform
   and at the same time diverse appearance—a
species of vertical vineyard, rustling in the storm
   of conventional opinion—are they weapons or scalpels?
       Whetted to brilliance

by the hard majesty of that sophistication which is superior to opportunity,
these things are rich instruments with which to experiment.
    But why dissect destiny with instruments
    more highly specialized than the components of destiny

  • Source: The Poems of Marianne Moore (Penguin Books, 2005)

Poet Bio

What People are Saying

"With a $20,000 prize, I never imagined POL being this much fun. The competitions were more about meeting and talking with the other competitors, having a great time and enjoying the poetry. I also never knew I could find so much in myself just from reciting poems."
Elliot Davidson
2015 PA POL Champion