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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

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.

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
Man looking into the sea,
taking the view from those who have as much right to it as you have to 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.