Marianne Moore

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

Roses Only - Poem by Marianne Moore

You do not seem to realize that beauty is a liability rather
than
an asset - that in view of the fact that spirit creates form
we are justified in supposing
that you must have brains. For you, a symbol of the
unit, stiff and sharp,
conscious of surpassing by dint of native superiority and
liking for everything
self-dependent, anything an

ambitious civilization might produce: for you, unaided, to
attempt through sheer
reserve, to confuse presumptions resulting from
observation, is idle. You cannot make us
think you a delightful happen-so. But rose, if you are
brilliant, it
is not because your petals are the without-which-nothing
of pre-eminence. Would you not, minus
thorns, be a what-is-this, a mere
perculiarity? They are not proof against a worm, the
elements, or mildew;
but what about the predatory hand? What is brilliance
without co-ordination? Guarding the
infinitesimal pieces of your mind, compelling audience to
the remark that it is better to be forgotten than to be re-
membered too violently,
your thorns are the best part of you.


Comments about Roses Only by Marianne Moore

  • Susan Williams (6/30/2017 3:28:00 PM)


    your thorns are the best part of you- - - - - -Marianne Moore is the proof of this line! ! ! ! Actually I like her body of work but she does have a stinger and isn't afraid to use it when need be. (Report) Reply

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  • Edward Kofi Louis (6/30/2017 9:04:00 AM)


    The remark! ! Thanks for sharing this poem with us. (Report) Reply

  • Anil Kumar Panda (6/30/2017 8:17:00 AM)


    Yeah, you have to be with thorns to become a rose. Nice poem. (Report) Reply

  • Ramesh T A (6/30/2017 8:13:00 AM)


    Then it would be a flower sans fragrance; it is same as aweet sans sugar or food sans salt! (Report) Reply

  • Bernard F. Asuncion (6/30/2017 2:34:00 AM)


    Reminds me of the song BED OF ROSES popularized by BON JOVI.... Thanks for posting... (Report) Reply

  • Alexander Julian (6/30/2017 2:31:00 AM)


    A rose is an asset, but the holder of it has to provide results from liability. Can a predator get along with a biting flower? (Report) Reply

  • Rajnish Manga (6/30/2017 1:42:00 AM)


    Life is not what it apparently looks but it is more than that- a multi-dimensional reality. Thanks.
    But rose, if you are.... brilliant, it
    is not because your petals are the without-which-nothing
    of pre-eminence. Would you not, minus.... thorns,
    be a what-is-this, a mere.... perculiarity?
    (Report) Reply

  • Robert Murray Smith (6/30/2017 12:39:00 AM)


    A poem of the time. Let's hope emancipation is now a life force. (Report) Reply

Read all 8 comments »



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Poem Submitted: Thursday, April 15, 2010

Poem Edited: Tuesday, November 15, 2011


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