"Spenser's Island," by Marianne Moore
"Spenser's Island," by Marianne Moore stories

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Spenser's Island has not altered;--
Source: NinlyOne https://www.reddit.com/r/...

"Spenser's Island," by Marianne Moore

by NinlyOne

Spenser's Island

has not altered;--

a place as kind as it is green,

the greenest place I've never seen.

Every name is a tune.

Denunciations do not affect

the culprit; nor blows, but it

is torture to him to not be spoken to.

They're natural,--

the coat, like Venus'

mantle lined with stars,

buttoned close at the neck,-the sleeves new from disuse.

If in Ireland

they play the harp backward at need,

and gather at midday the seed

of the fern, eluding

their "giants all covered with iron," might

there be fern seed for unlearn-

ing obduracy and for reinstating

the enchantment?

Hindered characters

seldom have mothers

in Irish stories, but they all have grandmothers.

It was Irish;

a match not a marriage was made

when my great great grandmother'd said

with native genius for

disunion, "Although your suitor be

perfection, one objection

is enough; he is not

Irish." Outwitting

the fairies, befriending the furies,

whoever again

and again says, "I'll never give in," never sees

that you're not free

until you've been made captive by

supreme belief,--credulity

you say? When large dainty

fingers tremblingly divide the wings

of the fly for mid-July

with a needle and wrap it with peacock-tail,

or tie wool and

buzzard's wing, their pride,

like the enchanter's

is in care, not madness. Concurring hands divide

flax for damask

that when bleached by Irish weather

has the silvered chamois-leather

water-tightness of a

skin. Twisted torcs and gold new-moon-shaped

lunulae aren't jewelry

like the purple-coral fuchsia-tree's. Eire--

the guillemot

so neat and the hen

of the heath and the

linnet spinet-sweet-bespeak relentlessness? Then

they are to me

like enchanted Earl Gerald who

changed himself into a stag, to

a great green-eyed cat of

the mountain. Discommodity makes

them invisible; they've dis-

appeared. The Irish say your trouble is their

trouble and your

joy their joy? I wish

I could believe it;

I am troubled, I'm dissatisfied, I'm Irish.

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