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.
From The Complete Poems of Marianne Moore. Copyright © 1961 Marianne Moore, © renewed 1989 by Lawrence E. Brinn and Louise Crane, executors of the Estate of 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: 1961-01-01
Source URL: https://poets.org/poem/spensers-ireland