A UNA LUMACA
Se “la concentrazione è il primo dono dello stile”,
tu la possiedi. La contrattilità è una virtù,
così come modestia è una virtù.
Non già l’acquisizione di una cosa qualsiasi
capace di adornare,
o la qualità incidentale che per avventura
si accompagni a qualcosa di ben detto,
non questo apprezziamo nello stile,
ma il principio nascosto:
nell’assenza di piedi, “un metodo di conclusioni”;
“una conoscenza di princìpi”,
nel curioso fenomeno della tua antenna occipitale.
Marianne Moore (Kirkwood, 15 novembre 1887 – New York City, 5 febbraio 1972) poetessa del Modernismo, scrittrice, editrice statunitense.
da Marianne Moore, Le poesie a c. di G. Forti e L. Angioletti, Adelphi
To A Snail
If ‘compression is the first grace of style’,
you have it. Contractility is a virtue
as modesty is a virtue.
It is not the acquisition of any one thing
that is able to adorn,
or the incidental quality that occurs
as a concomitant of something well said,
that we value in style,
but the principle that is hid:
in the absence of feet, ‘a method of conclusions’
‘a knowledge of principles’,
in the curious phenomenon of your occipital horn.
from Collected Poems
With innocent wide penguin eyes, three
large fledgling mockingbirds below
the pussy-willow tree,
stand in a row,
wings touching, feebly solemn,
till they see
their no longer larger
something which will partially
feed one of them.
Toward the high-keyed intermittent squeak
of broken carriage springs, made by
the three similar, meek-
freckled forms she comes; and when
from the beak
of one, the still living
beetle has dropped
out, she picks it up and puts
it in again.
Standing in the shade till they have dressed
their thickly filamented, pale
coats, they spread tail
and wings, showing one by one,
white stripe lengthwise on the
tail and crosswise
underneath the wing, and the
is closed again. What delightful note
with rapid unexpected flute
sounds leaping from the throat
of the astute
grown bird, comes back to one from
lit air before
the brood was here? How harsh
the bird’s voice has become.
A piebald cat observing them,
is slowly creeping toward the trim
trio on the tree stem.
Unused to him
the three make room-uneasy
A dangling foot that missed
its grasp, is raised
and finds the twig on which it
planned to perch. The
parent darting down, nerved by what chills
the blood, and by hope rewarded-
of toil-since nothing fills
mouths, wages deadly combat,
and half kills
with bayonet beak and
cruel wings, the intellectual cautious-
ly creeping cat.
from Marianne Moore, Complete poems
MARIANNE MOORE reads Bird-Witted