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Archibald MacLeish

 

One poem by Archibald MacLeish

1. “Ars Poetica” 

 

 

Ars Poetica

 

A poem should be palpable and mute

As a globed fruit,

 

Dumb

As old medallions to the thumb,

 

Silent as the sleeve-worn stone

Of casement ledges where the moss has grown—

 

A poem should be wordless

As the flight of birds.

 

*

 

A poem should be motionless in time

As the moon climbs,

 

Leaving, as the moon releases

Twig by twig the night-entangled trees,

 

Leaving, as the moon behind the winter leaves,

Memory by memory the mind—

 

A poem should be motionless in time

As the moon climbs.

 

*

 

A poem should be equal to:

Not true.

 

For all the history of grief

An empty doorway and a maple leaf.

 

For love

The leaning grasses and two lights above the sea—

 

A poem should not mean

But be.

 

          Archibald MacLeish

 

 

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