Marianne Moore


Is some such a word
		as the chord
			Brahms had heard
			from a bird,
sung down near the root of the throat;
it’s the little downy woodpecker
				spiraling a tree—
				up up up like mercury;

		a not long
			of hayseed
a tuned reticence with rigor
from strength at the source. Propriety is
			Bach’s Solfeggietto—
			Harmonia and basso

	The fish-spine
	on firs, on
		somber trees
		by the sea’s
walls of wave-worn rock—have it; and
a moonbow and Bach’s cheerful firmness
		in a minor key.
		It’s an owl-and-a-pussy-

		Come, come. It’s
		mixed with wits;
it’s not a graceful sadness. It’s
resistance with bent head, like foxtail
			millets. Brahms and Bach,
			no; Bach and Brahms. To thank Bach
	for his song
	first is wrong.
		Pardon me;
		Both are the
unintentional pansy-face
uncursed by self-inspection; blackened
		Because born that way.