For authorities whose hopes are shaped by mercenaries? Writers entrapped by teatime fame and by commuters' comforts? Not for these the paper nautilus constructs her thin glass shell. Giving her perishable souvenir of hope, a dull white outside and smooth- edged inner surface glossy as the sea, the watchful maker of it guards it day and night; she scarcely eats until the eggs are hatched. Buried eight-fold in her eight arms, for she is in a sense a devil- fish, her glass ram'shorn-cradled freight is hid but is not crushed; as Hercules, bitten by a crab loyal to the hydra, was hindered to succeed, the intensively watched eggs coming from the shell free it when they are freed,— leaving its wasp-nest flaws of white on white, and close- laid Ionic chiton-folds like the lines in the mane of a Parthenon horse, round which the arms had wound themselves as if they knew love is the only fortress strong enough to trust to.
Marianne Moore - 1887-1972
has not altered;-- a place as kind as it is green, the greenest place I've never seen. Every name is a tune. Denunciations do not affect the culprit; nor blows, but it is torture to him to not be spoken to. They're natural,-- the coat, like Venus' mantle lined with stars, buttoned close at the neck,-the sleeves new from disuse. If in Ireland they play the harp backward at need, and gather at midday the seed of the fern, eluding their "giants all covered with iron," might there be fern seed for unlearn- ing obduracy and for reinstating the enchantment? Hindered characters seldom have mothers in Irish stories, but they all have grandmothers. It was Irish; a match not a marriage was made when my great great grandmother'd said with native genius for disunion, "Although your suitor be perfection, one objection is enough; he is not Irish." Outwitting the fairies, befriending the furies, whoever again and again says, "I'll never give in," never sees that you're not free until you've been made captive by supreme belief,--credulity you say? When large dainty fingers tremblingly divide the wings of the fly for mid-July with a needle and wrap it with peacock-tail, or tie wool and buzzard's wing, their pride, like the enchanter's is in care, not madness. Concurring hands divide flax for damask that when bleached by Irish weather has the silvered chamois-leather water-tightness of a skin. Twisted torcs and gold new-moon-shaped lunulae aren't jewelry like the purple-coral fuchsia-tree's. Eire-- the guillemot so neat and the hen of the heath and the linnet spinet-sweet-bespeak relentlessness? Then they are to me like enchanted Earl Gerald who changed himself into a stag, to a great green-eyed cat of the mountain. Discommodity makes them invisible; they've dis- appeared. The Irish say your trouble is their trouble and your joy their joy? I wish I could believe it; I am troubled, I'm dissatisfied, I'm Irish.