20 June 2008

Archibald MacLeish

American poet, writer, lawyer, professor, statesman.
(7 May 1892 - 20 April 1982)

"A real writer learns from earlier writers the way a boy learns from an apple orchard -- by stealing what he has a taste for and can carry off."
~ Archibald MacLeish, A Continuing Journey (1968)

The Snowflake Which Is Now and Hence Forever
by Archibald MacLeish

Will it last? he says.
Is it a masterpiece?
Will generation after generation
Turn with reverence to the page?

Birdseye scholar of the frozen fish,
What would he make of the sole, clean, clear
Leap of the salmon that has disappeared?

To be, yes! -- whether they like it or not!
But not to last when leap and water are forgotten,
A plank of standard pinkness in the dish.

They also live
Who swerve and vanish in the river.

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