In This Age of Hard Trying, Nonchalance Is Good and

Marianne Moore, 1887 – 1972

“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.

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