Marianne Moore





“Keeping Their World Large”
All too literally, their flesh and their spirit are our shield.
-New York Times, June 7, 1944

All too literally, their flesh and their spirit are our shield.
	-New York Times, June 7, 1944

	I should like to see that country’s tiles, bedrooms,
Stone patios
		and ancient wells: Rinaldo
Caramonica’s the cobbler’s, Frank sblendorio’s
		and Dominick Angelastro’s country—
		the grocer’s, the iceman’s, the dancer’s—the
	beautiful Miss Damiano’s; widsom’s

	and all angels’ Italy, this Christmas Day
this Christmas year.
		A noiseless piano, an
Innocent war, the heart that can act against itself. Here,
		each unlike and all alike, could
		so many—stumbling, falling, multiplied
	till bodies lay as ground to walk on—

	“If Christ and the apostles died in vain,
I’ll die in vain with them”
		against this way of victory.
That forest of white crosses!
		My eyes won’t close to it.
		All laid like animals for sacrifice—
Like Isaac on the mount, were their own sacrifice.

	Marching to death, marching to life?
“Keeping their world large,”
		whose spirits and whose bodies
all too literally were our shield,
		are still our shield.
		They fought the enemy,
We fight fat living and self-pity.
		Shine, o shine,
	Unfalsifying sun, on this sick scene.