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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

not of silver nor of coral,
but of weatherbeaten laurel.

Here, he introduced a sea
uniform like tapestry;

here, a fig-tree; there, a face;
there, a dragon circling space—

designating here, a bower;
there, a pointed passion-flower.
 

poem

With an elephant to ride upon—"with rings on her fingers and bells on her toes,"
   she shall outdistance calamity anywhere she goes.
Speed is not in her mind inseparable from carpets. Locomotion arose
   in the shape of an elephant; she clambered up and chose
to travel laboriously. So far as

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