Tuesday, 5 April 2016

‘What Are Years?’

I mentioned the other day that among my current bedside books is/are the collected poems of Marianne Moore. I said that she’s supposed to be good, and so I’d persevere with reading one poem a day, but up to now her poems seem to be slight and whimsical; little sketches provoked perhaps by oddities found in her own bedside bookshelf.

But now, suddenly, with the poem ‘What Are Years?’, the title poem of a 1941 collection, she seems at last to be saying (or writing) something worth hearing (or reading). The poem is similar to, but better, less blatant than, Spender’s ‘I think continually of those who were truly great.’

I have not yet read further in this collection, but it’s been worth all the preceding stuff to come at last to this fine poem.

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