Marianne Moore

(November 15, 1887 – February 5, 1972 / Kirkwood, Missouri)

A Grave - Poem by Marianne Moore

Man looking into the sea,
taking the view from those who have as much right to it as
           you have to it yourself,
it is human nature to stand in the middle of a thing,
but you cannot stand in the middle of this;
the sea has nothing to give but a well excavated grave.
The firs stand in a procession, each with an emerald turkey-
           foot at the top,
reserved as their contours, saying nothing;
repression, however, is not the most obvious characteristic of
           the sea;
the sea is a collector, quick to return a rapacious look.
There are others besides you who have worn that look --
whose expression is no longer a protest; the fish no longer
           investigate them
for their bones have not lasted:
men lower nets, unconscious of the fact that they are
           desecrating a grave,
and row quickly away -- the blades of the oars
moving together like the feet of water-spiders as if there were
           no such thing as death.
The wrinkles progress among themselves in a phalanx -- beautiful
           under networks of foam,
and fade breathlessly while the sea rustles in and out of the
the birds swim throught the air at top speed, emitting cat-calls
           as heretofore --
the tortoise-shell scourges about the feet of the cliffs, in motion
           beneath them;
and the ocean, under the pulsation of lighthouses and noise of
advances as usual, looking as if it were not that ocean in which
           dropped things are bound to sink --
in which if they turn and twist, it is neither with volition nor

Comments about A Grave by Marianne Moore

  • Gold Star - 47,399 Points Edward Kofi Louis (7/22/2015 5:03:00 AM)

    The first stand with the muse of life. Nice work. (Report) Reply

    0 person liked.
    0 person did not like.
  • Veteran Poet - 1,097 Points Peter Stavropoulos (11/3/2013 5:56:00 PM)

    Just discovered this poet today. Powerful poem. Raw, like the sea. (Report) Reply

  • Rookie Paul Cutting (11/22/2008 12:23:00 PM)

    Well hello old friend I have never met on this time line until this time,
    pleasure to met you, yes i am fine as the fine line between this
    time and last,

    Salutations and thank you for the positive vibrations for the
    for mentioned in the paragraph above,
    may the universe bless you with its most powerful weapon
    is Love (Report) Reply

  • Rookie Morgan Upridge Thompson (4/20/2005 7:38:00 PM)

    wow... this is wonderful. M (Report) Reply

Read all 4 comments »

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Read poems about / on: sea, ocean, cat, fish, beautiful, nature, together, water, death, fishing, swimming

Poem Submitted: Friday, January 3, 2003

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