Marianne Moore

In Distrust of Merits

  Strengthened to live, strengthened to die for                    to the fighting - it's a promise - œWe'll
         medals and positioned victories?                                      never hate, black, white, red, yellow, Jew,
  They're fighting, fighting, fighting the blind                    Gentile. Untouchable." We are
         man who thinks he sees, -                                                 not competent to
  who cannot see that the enslaver is                                   make our vows. With set jaw they are fighting.
  enslaved; the hater, harmed. O shining O                         fighting, fighting, - some we love whom we know,
                 firm star, O tumultuous                                                      some we love but know not - that
                         ocean lashed till small things go                                         hearts may feel and not be numb.
                 as they will, the mountainous                                             it cures me; or am I what
                          wave makes us who look, know                                       I can't believe in? Some

  depth. Lost at sea before they fought! O                           in snow, some on crags, some in quicksands,
          star of David, star of Bethlehem,                                     little by little, much by much, they
  O black imperial lion                                                         are fighting fighting fighting that where
          of the Lord - emblem                                                       there was death there may
  of a risen world - be joined at last, be                                be life, œWhen a man is prey to anger.
  joined. There is hate's crown beneath which all is            he is moved by outside things; when he holds
                   death; there's love's without which none                       his ground in patience patience
                         is king; the blessed deeds bless                                      patience, that is action or
                   the halo. As contagion                                                    beauty. the soldier's defense
                           of sickness makes sickness,                                           and hardest armor for

contagion of trust can make trust. They're                          the fight. The world's an orphan's home. Shall
          fighting in deserts and caves, one by                               we never have peace without sorrow?
  one, in battalions and squadrons;                                         without pleas of the dying for
          they're fighting that I                                                         help that won't come? O
  may yet recover from the disease. My                               quiet form upon the dust, I cannot
  Self; some have it lightly; some will die. œMan's              look and yet I must. If these great patient
                 wolf to man and we devour                                              dyings - all these agonies
                         ourselves. The enemy could not                                        and wound bearings and bloodshed -
                 have made a greater breach in our                                      can teach us how to live, these
                          defenses. One pilot-                                                          dyings were not wasted.

ing a blind man can escape him, but                                     Hate-hardened heart, heart of iron,
              Job disheartened by false comfort knew                         iron is iron till it is rust.
  that nothing can be so defeating                                          There never was a war that was                    
         as a blind man who                                                               not inward; I must
  can see. O alive who are dead, who are                               fight till I have conquered in myself what
  proud not to see. O small dust of the earth                          causes war, but I would not believe it.
                 that walks so arrogantly,                                                        I inwardly did nothing
                         trust begets power and faith is                                             O Iscariot-like crime!
                 an affectionate thing. We                                                       Beauty is everlasting
                          vow, we make this promise                                                  and dust is for a time.