Published on Academy of American Poets (https://poets.org)


In This Age of Hard Trying, Nonchalance Is Good and

“really, it is not the
   business of the gods to bake clay pots.” They did not
      do it in this instance. A few
         revolved upon the axes of their worth
  as if excessive popularity might be a pot;

they did not venture the
   profession of humility. The polished wedge
      that might have split the firmament
         was dumb. At last it threw itself away
  and falling down, conferred on some poor fool, a privilege.

“Taller by the length of
   a conversation of five hundred years than all
      the others,” there was one, whose tales
         of what could never have been actual—
  were better than the haggish, uncompanionable drawl

of certitude; his by-
   play was more terrible in its effectiveness
      than the fiercest frontal attack.
         The staff, the bag, the feigned inconsequence
  of manner, best bespeak that weapon, self-protectiveness.
 

Credit


This poem is in the public domain. 

About this Poem


“In This Age of Hard Trying, Nonchalance Is Good and” was originally published in the modernist literary magazine Chimaera in July of 1916. 

Author


Marianne Moore

Born in 1887, Marianne Moore wrote with the freedom characteristic of the other Modernist poets, often incorporating quotes from other sources into the text, yet her use of language was always extraordinarily condensed and precise

Date Published: 2016-03-20

Source URL: https://poets.org/poem/age-hard-trying-nonchalance-good-and