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About this Poem 

“Appellate Jurisdiction” by Marianne Moore was published in the May 1915 issue of Poetry along with four other poems.

Appellate Jurisdiction

Fragments of sin are a part of me.
New brooms shall sweep clean the heart of me.
      Shall they? Shall they?

When this light life shall have passed away,
God shall redeem me, a castaway.
      Shall He? Shall He?

“Appellate Jurisdiction” was first published in the May 1915 issue of Poetry magazine.

“Appellate Jurisdiction” was first published in the May 1915 issue of Poetry magazine.

Marianne Moore

Marianne Moore

Born in 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

by this poet

poem

Visible, invisible,
A fluctuating charm,
An amber-colored amethyst
Inhabits it; your arm
Approaches, and
It opens and
It closes;
You have meant
To catch it,
And it shrivels;
You abandon
Your intent—
It opens, and it
Closes and you
Reach for it—

poem
wade
through black jade.
       Of the crow-blue mussel-shells, one keeps
       adjusting the ash-heaps;
              opening and shutting itself like

an
injured fan.
       The barnacles which encrust the side
       of the wave, cannot hide
              there for the submerged shafts of the

sun,
split
poem

The banners unfurled by the warden
Float
Up high in the air and sink down; the
Moat
Is black as a plume on a casque; my
Light,
Like a patch of high light on a flask, makes
Night
A gibbering goblin that bars the way-
So noisy, familiar, and safe by day.