Reading Aloud (#9): Marianne Moore’s “What Are Years”

What Are Years

     What is our innocence,
what is our guilt? All are
     naked, none is safe. And whence
is courage: the unanswered question,
the resolute doubt,—
dumbly calling, deafly listening—that
in misfortune, even death,
          encourage others
          and in it’s defeat, stirs

     the soul to be strong? He
sees deep and is glad, who
     accedes to mortality
and in his imprisonment rises
upon himself as
the sea in a chasm, struggling to be
free and unable to be,
          in its surrendering
          finds its continuing.

     So he who strongly feels,
behaves. The very bird,
     grown taller as he sings, steels
his form straight up. Though he is captive,
his mighty singing
says, satisfaction is a lowly
thing, how pure a thing is joy.
          This is mortality,
          this is eternity.

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