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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Marianne Moore
Marianne Moore
Born 1887, Marianne Moore wrote with the freedom characteristic of the other Modernist poets, often incorporating quotes from other sources into the text, yet her use of language was always extraordinarily condensed and precise...
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FURTHER READING
Poems about Whales
The Feeling of the World As a Bounded Whale Is the Mystical [The child affixes]
by Darcie Dennigan
For Tranströmer
by Norman Dubie
Of Politics, & Art
by Norman Dubie
The Drunken Fisherman
by Robert Lowell
Whales Weep Not!
by D. H. Lawrence
World Below the Brine
by Walt Whitman
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Sojourn in the Whale

 
by Marianne Moore

Trying to open locked doors with a sword, threading
   the points of needles, planting shade trees
   upside down; swallowed by the opaqueness of one whom the seas
love better than they love you, Ireland—

you have lived and lived on every kind of shortage.
   You have been compelled by hags to spin
   gold thread from straw and have heard men say:
"There is a feminine temperament in direct contrast to ours,

which makes her do these things. Circumscribed by a 
   heritage of blindness and native
   incompetence, she will become wise and will be forced to give in.
Compelled by experience, she will turn back;

water seeks its own level";
   and you have smiled. "Water in motion is far
   from level." You have seen it, when obstacles happened to bar
the path, rise automatically.









First published in Others (1917)
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