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About this Poem 

“The Past Is the Present’” was published in Others: An Anthology of New Verse (Alfred A. Knopf, 1917).

The Past Is the Present

Revived bitterness
is unnecessary unless
    One is ignorant.

To-morrow will be
Yesterday unless you say the
    Days of the week back-

Ward. Last weeks’ circus
Overflow frames an old grudge. Thus:
    When you attempt to 

Force the doors and come
At the cause of the shouts, you thumb
    A brass nailed echo.

This poem is in the public domain. Published in Poem-a-Day on September 29, 2018, by the Academy of American Poets.

This poem is in the public domain. Published in Poem-a-Day on September 29, 2018, by the Academy of American Poets.

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
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
poem
The illustration
is nothing to you without the application.
   You lack half wit. You crush all the particles down
      into close conformity, and then walk back and forth 
         on them.

Sparkling chips of rock
are crushed down to the level of the parent block.
   Were not 'impersonal judgment in aesthetic
poem
       Not a mere blowing flame—
       A clinking ash, I feel—with shame,
          At malendeavor in your service.

But as Jehoshaphat said on that occasion in
              Old Testament history,

       "The battle is not mine,"
       And strategy laid down—in fine
          Surrender, may be conquest.