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About this Poem 

“Imagery” was published in MacLeish’s book Tower of Ivory (Yale University Press, 1917).

Imagery

The tremulously mirrored clouds lie deep,
Enchanted towers bosomed in the stream,
And blossomed coronals of white-thorn gleam
Within the water where the willows sleep—
Still-imaged willow-leaves whose shadows steep
The far-reflected sky in dark of dream;
And glimpsed therein the sun-winged swallows seem
As fleeting memories to those who weep.

So mirrored in thy heart are all desires,
Eternal longings, Youth’s inheritance,
All hopes that token immortality,
All griefs whereto immortal grief aspires.
Aweary of the world’s reality,
I dream above the imaged pool, Romance.
 

This poem is in the public domain.

This poem is in the public domain.

Archibald MacLeish

Archibald MacLeish

Born in 1892, Archibald MacLeish was a poet, critic, and playwright who was awarded the Pulitzer Prize three times. He served as a Chancellor of the Academy of American Poets from 1946 to 1949. 

by this poet

poem
Like moon-dark, like brown water you escape,
O laughing mouth, O sweet uplifted lips.
Within the peering brain old ghosts take shape;
You flame and wither as the white foam slips
Back from the broken wave: sometimes a start,
A gesture of the hands, a way you own
Of bending that smooth head above your heart,—
poem

There is no dusk to be,
   There is no dawn that was,
Only there's now, and now,
   And the wind in the grass.

Days I remember of
   Now in my heart, are now;
Days that I dream will bloom
   White peach bough.

Dying shall never be
   Now in the windy grass;

poem
A poem should be palpable and mute
As a globed fruit,

Dumb
As old medallions to the thumb,

Silent as the sleeve-worn stone
Of casement ledges where the moss has grown—

A poem should be wordless
As the flight of birds.

                 *

A poem should be motionless in time 
As the moon climbs,

Leaving, as