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The Mind Is An Enchanting Thing by Marianne Moore

mariannemoorePoet, essayist, editor, and translator Marianne Moore was an American Modernist best known for work brimming with wit, irony, and honesty. Her writing style was one of unique freedom blended with extraordinary precision and suggestive, colorful language. Her ability to transform the ordinary into the fascinating was profound. Though much of her work focused upon the simplest aspects of life and nature, the playful quality of her work was based in clarity, truthfulness, and light. Her sixty year career as an author earned her attention from greats like Ezra Pound, T.S. Eliot, and several others as well as recognition for being one of the greatest modern poets of her time.


The Mind Is an Enchanting Thing
is an enchanted thing
like the glaze on a
katydid-wing
subdivided by sun
till the nettings are legion.
Like Gieseking playing Scarlatti;

like the apteryx-awl
as a beak, or the
kiwi’s rain-shawl
of haired feathers, the mind
feeling its way as though blind,
walks along with its eyes on the ground.

It has memory’s ear
that can hear without
having to hear.
Like the gyroscope’s fall,
truly equivocal
because trued by regnant certainty,

it is a power of
strong enchantment. It
is like the dove –
neck animated by
sun; it is memory’s eye;
it’s conscientious inconsistency.

It tears off the veil; tears
the temptation, the
mist the heart wears,
from its eyes – if the heart
has a face; it takes it apart
dejection. It’s fire in the dove-neck’s

iridescence; in the
inconsistencies
of Scarlatti.
Unconfusion submits
its confusion to proof: it’s
not a Herod’s oath that cannot change.”