Ars Poetica

Marie Borroff

He who would frame the corded lyre must take
Not of his bone, but some more steadfast thing;
There is no bended rib of body’s make
To stretch such string.

Some more than mortal substance may alone
Hold taut and true beneath the smiting hand
That iron string, whose stress his hollow bone
Could not withstand.

Marie Borroff was a scholar, poet, translator, and a Sterling Professor of English at Yale University.
Originally published:
April 1, 1948

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