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"Mad Men": "The Gold Violin"

By admin Published: September 8, 2008

MM

Watching "Mad Men" this morning, I kept thinking of an Archibald MacLeish poem, "Ars Poetica," which I read in high school:

A poem should be palpable and mute
As a globed fruit

Dumb
As old medallions to the thumb

Silent as the sleeve-worn stone
Of casement ledges where the moss has grown -

A poem should be wordless
As the flight of birds

A poem should be motionless in time
As the moon climbs

Leaving, as the moon releases
Twig by twig the night-entangled trees,

Leaving, as the moon behind the winter leaves,
Memory by memory the mind -

A poem should be motionless in time
As the moon climbs

A poem should be equal to:
Not true

For all the history of grief
An empty doorway and a maple leaf

For love
The leaning grasses and two lights above the sea -

A poem should not mean
But be

The urge to elaborate will probably overwhelm me at some point. But for now, I'll let the poem -- and "The Gold Violin" -- just be.

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