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What Are Years?

Marianne Moore
        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 listeningthat
in misfortune, even death,
        encourages others
        and in its 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.
Why I chose this poem: 

Marianne Moore was a pioneering poet goddess queen.  "What Are Years" is probably her most accessible and famous poem.  It's one of my favorites because its message, at least as I interpret it, is about finding happiness through the acceptance of one's circumstances and inevitable earthly end.  That idea has given me comfort in trying times, and I can't think of higher praise than that.  Happy National Poetry Month.  Now get out there and read and write some poems!

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