Marianne Moore

In Lieu of the Lyre

One debarred from enrollment at Harvard,
may have seen towers and been shown the Yard—
animated by Madame de Bouffler’s choice rhymes:
Sentir avec ardeur: with fire; yes, with passion;
  rime-prose revived also by word-wizard Achilles—
	Dr. Fang.
The Harvard Advocate’s select formal-informal
invitation to Harvard made grateful, Brooklyn’s (or Mexico’s)
one whose “French aspect” was invented by
	Professor Levin,
a too outspoken outraged refugee from clichés particularly,
	who was proffered redress
	by the Lowell House Press—
Vermont Stinehour Press, rather. (No careless statements
to Kirkland House; least of all inexactness in quoting a fact.)

	To the Advocate, gratia sum
	unavoidably lame as I am, verbal pilgrim
 like Thomas Bewick, drinking from his hat-brim,
drops spilled from a waterfall, denominated later by him
	a crystalline Fons Bandusian miracle.

It occurs to the guest—if someone had confessed it in time—
that you might have preferred to the waterfall, pilgrim and hat-brim,
		a valuable axiom such as
“a force at rest is at rest because balanced by some other force,”
or “catenary and triangle together hold the span in place”
		(of a bridge),

or a too often forgotten surely relevant thing, that Roebling cable
		was invented by John A. Roebling.

		These reflections, Mr. Davis
		in lieu of the lyre.