“How Pure a Thing is Joy”

  What is our innocence,
what is our guilt? All are
  naked, none is safe. And whence
is courage: the unanswered question,
the resolute doubt,—
dumbly calling, deafly listening—that
in misfortune, even death,
     encourages others
     and in its defeat, stirs
  the soul to be strong? He
sees deep and is glad, who
  accedes to mortality
and in his imprisonment rises
upon himself as
the sea in a chasm, struggling to be
free and unable to be,
     in its surrendering
     finds its continuing.

  So he who strongly feels,
behaves. The very bird,
  grown taller as he sings, steels
his form straight up. Though he is captive,
his mighty singing
says, satisfaction is a lowly
thing, how pure a thing is joy.
     This is mortality
     this is eternity.

     — Marianne Moore, 'What are the Years'

NDjTPh Flight of Two Birds this is mortality this is eternity sig 26 March 2017 IMG_2527 (4)

“How pure a thing is joy”


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