Diligence Is to Magic as Progress Is to Flight
With an elephant to ride upon—"with rings on her fingers and bells on her toes,"
she shall outdistance calamity anywhere she goes.
Speed is not in her mind inseparable from carpets. Locomotion arose
in the shape of an elephant; she clambered up and chose
to travel laboriously. So far as magic carpets are concerned, she knows
that although the semblance of speed may attach to scarecrows
of aesthetic procedure, the substance of it is embodied in such of those
tough-grained animals as have outstripped man’s whim to suppose
them ephemera, and I have earned that fruit of their ability to endure blows
which dubs them prosaic necessities—not curios.
This poem is in the public domain.
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: 1915-01-01
Source URL: https://poets.org/poem/diligence-magic-progress-flight