What are Years

by Marianne Moore What is our innocence, what is our guilt? All are naked, none is safe. And whence is courage: the unanswered question, the resolute doubt, --- dumbly calling, deafly listening--that in misfortune, even death, encourages others and in its defeat, stirs

the soul to be strong? He sees deep and is glad, who accedes to mortality and in his imprisonment, rises upon himself as the sea in a chasm, struggling to be free and unable to be, in its surrendering finds its continuing.

So he who strongly feels, behaves. The very bird, grown taller as he sings, steels his form straight up. Though he is captive, his mighty singing says, satisfaction is a lowly thing, how pure a thing is joy. This is mortality, this is eternity.