Vintage verse – Silence by Marianne Moore


My father used to say,
“Superior people never make long visits,
have to be shown Longfellow’s grave
or the glass flowers at Harvard.
Self-reliant like the cat—
that takes its prey to privacy,
the mouse’s limp tail hanging like a shoelace from its mouth—
they sometimes enjoy solitude,
and can be robbed of speech
by speech which has delighted them.
The deepest feeling always shows itself in silence;
not in silence, but restraint.”
Nor was he insincere in saying, “Make my house your inn.”
Inns are not residences.

by Marianne Moore (1887-1972)


2 responses to “Vintage verse – Silence by Marianne Moore”

  1. Dick Westheimer Avatar

    I love this – and all your “vintage verse” series.

  2. Winston Munn Avatar
    Winston Munn

    No lesser figure than T. S. Eliot called Marianne Moore’s work “part of the small body of durable poetry written in our time”.

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