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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

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
   Although the aepyornis
   or roc that lived in Madagascar, and
the moa are extinct,
the camel-sparrow, linked
   with them in size--the large sparrow
Xenophon saw walking by a stream--was and is
a symbol of justice.

   This bird watches his chicks with
   a maternal concentration-and he's
been mothering the
poem
Lest by diminished vitality and abated 
   vigilance, I become food for crocodiles—for that quicksand 
   of gluttony which is legion. It is there close at hand—
      on either side 
      of me. You remember the Israelites who said in pride 

and stoutness of heart: "The bricks are fallen down, we will