Those Various Scalpels,
various sounds consistently indistinct, like intermingled echoes
struck from thin glasses successively at random
the inflection disguised: your hair, the tails of two
fighting-cocks head to head in stone
like sculptured scimitars repeating the curve of your ears in reverse order:
your eyes, flowers of ice and snow
sown by tearing winds on the cordage of disabled ships; your raised hand,
an ambiguous signature: your cheeks, those rosettes
of blood on the stone floors of French chateaux,
with regard to which the guides are so affirmative
your other hand,
a bundle of lances all alike, partly hid by emeralds from Persia
and the fractional magnificence of Florentine
goldworka collection of little objects
sapphires set with emeralds, and pearls with a moonstone, made fine
with enamel in gray, yellow, and dragon-fly blue;
a lemon, a pear
and three bunches of grapes, tied with silver: your dress, a magnificent square
cathedral tower of uniform
and at the same time diverse appearancea
species of vertical vineyard rustling in the storm
of conventional opinion. Are they weapons or scalpels?
Whetted to brilliance
by the hard majesty of that sophistication which is superior to opportunity,
these things are rich instruments with which to experiment.
But why dissect destiny with instruments
more highly specialized than components of destiny itself?
Marianne Moore, The Collected Poems of Marianne Moore, Viking Penguin, 1941.