Ars Poetica

Another poem in honor of National Poetry Month. If I had to pick a favorite poem, this might be it. There are quite a few I really love, but this one is the quintessence of poetry. Good poetry usually makes me want to sit down and write–this poem makes me want to sit down and marvel.

ARS POETICA
By Archibald MacLeish

A poem should be palpable and mute
As a globed fruit,

Dumb
As old medallions to the thumb,

Silent as the sleeve-worn stone
Of casement ledges where the moss has grown—

A poem should be wordless
As the flight of birds.

                 *

A poem should be motionless in time
As the moon climbs,

Leaving, as the moon releases
Twig by twig the night-entangled trees,

Leaving, as the moon behind the winter leaves,
Memory by memory the mind—

A poem should be motionless in time
As the moon climbs.

                  *

A poem should be equal to:
Not true.

For all the history of grief
An empty doorway and a maple leaf. 

For love
The leaning grasses and two lights above the sea—

A poem should not mean
But be.

2 thoughts on “Ars Poetica

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