SONNETS OF MERRILL MOORE

SONNETS OF MERRILL MOORE

MERRILL MOORE


How She Resolved to Act



I shall be careful to say nothing at all
About myself or what I know of him
Or the vaguest thought I have - no matter how dim,
Tonight if it so happen that he call."

And not ten minutes later the door-bell rang,
And into the hall he stepped as he always did,
With a face and a bearing that quite poorly hid
His brain that burned and his heart that fairly sang,
And his tongue that wanted to be rid of the truth.

As well as she could, for she was very loath
To signify how she felt, she kept very still,
But soon her heart cracked loud as a coffee mill,
And her brain swung like a comet in the dark,
And her tongue raced Eke a squirrel in the park.

No Envy, John Carter



Some night, John Carter, you will dream of hands,
Hands that are dead now, or as good as dead,
That you killed, or as good as made them die
Along the road that you have prospered by;
And I will never envy you the dread
With which you must awake then, as you see
Hands stretched towards you, striving, piteously
Stretched, beseeching, grasping at what was taken,

Hands by pain and grievance sorely shaken
And pointed at you while your agents keep
The power you've gained in this and other lands -
Some night, Mr. Carter, you will dream.
But it will not be an untroubled dream,
And, oh, I shall not envy you your sleep.

The Book of How



After the stars were all hung separately out
For mortal eyes to see that care to look,
The one who did it sat down and wrote a book
On how he did it. It took him about
As long to write the book as to do the deed,
But he said, "It's things like this we mostly need."
And the angels approved but the devils screamed with laughter,
For they knew exactly what would follow after.

For somehow he managed entirely to omit
The most important facts in accomplishing it:
Where he got the ladder to reach the stars;
And how he lighted them, especially Mars;
And what he hung them on when he got them there,
Eternally distant and luminous in the air.


Answer



Here are three ways to get your answer to me:
One, loose your pigeons, for they know my roof.
Tie the message to their legs with a tiny band
And they will bring, but will not understand
The words that one who holds herself aloof
Has written on rice paper with black ink;
That is the quickest way to do, I think,
Others I know but none as instantly.

Or tie a ribbon to the white swan's neck,
Red for yes or very blue for no,
They pass by here for water. If they go
Three days unribboned I'll know that you walk
In your rose garden waiting for the fall
To tell me by blowing dead leaves over my wall