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Lay for the Day
15th November

Two of 20th-century America’s finest artists were born on this day in 1887: the painter Georgia O’Keefe and the poet Marianne Moore. They would both magnify small wonders, the one with her gigantic flowers and shells, the other with her elaborate and eclectic poems about creatures such as ‘Fish’ and ‘To a Snail’.
From the book of Praises:

39. Of a Snail

The upper horns are extended
like expressions of pure longing,
optic fingers. The lower are
touching, touching, tasting the way.

They arch, stretch tenderly to all
that drifts or trickles within reach
and as hastily withdraw in
perpetual motion. Only

the shell that follows comes slowly,
drawn cautiously on in the wake
of tranquil curiosity,
climbing a stride’s length overnight.

They live more quickly than we do
in enormously detailed worlds.


John Gibbens
from Collected Poems


The Lay Reader: an archive of the poetic calendar

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