Sunday, April 13, 2014

Imaginary Gardens With Real Toads

—Marianne Moore

I, too, dislike it: there are things that are important beyond all this   
   Reading it, however, with a perfect contempt for it, one discovers
      it, after all, a place for the genuine.
              Hands that can grasp, eyes
              that can dilate, hair that can rise
                        if it must, these things are important not because a

high-sounding interpretation can be put upon them but because they
     useful. When they become so derivative as to become
     the same thing may be said for all of us, that we
              do not admire what
              we cannot understand: the bat
                        holding on upside down or in quest of something to

eat, elephants pushing, a wild horse talking a roll, a tireless wolf
     a tree, the immovable critic twitching his skin like a horse that
               feels a flea, the base-
     ball fan, the statistician—
           nor is it valid
               to discriminate against "business documents and

school-books;" all these phenomena are important. One must make
                      a distinction
    however: when dragged into prominence by half poets, the result
                      is not poetry,
    nor till the poets among us can be
         "literalists of
         the imagination"—above
               insolence and triviality and can present

for inspection, imaginary gardens with real toads in them, shall we
    it. In the meantime, if you demand on the one hand,
    the raw material of poetry in
         all its rawness and
         that which is on the other hand
               genuine, then you are interested in poetry.