As Has Been Said

Marianne Moore

before, some speak of things we know as new;
     and you, of things unknown as things forgot,

the calligraphic coral of fruit dyed
     inside as by infusion of the rind,

or the couplet, say, that chanced to be prose,
     compromises a natural signature—

a mathematician’s parenthesis,
     or is it a phase of the autograph?

There is a dedication qualitied
     indeed; at the opposite pole from the miser’s

escutcheon, three vises hard-screwed—
     intruding on the accident of pleasure,

known if at all to sensibility
     which would not for the world intrude.

Marianne Moore was an American poet and essayist who received the Pulitzer Prize, the National Book Award, and the National Medal for Literature.
Originally published:
October 1, 2003


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