Archibald MacLeish’s “Ars Poetica”

I think this poem pretty much sums up a poem:
“Ars Poetica”
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.
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