By Marianne Moore

This institution,
perhaps one should say enterprise
out of respect for which
one says one need not change one’s mind
about a thing one has believed in,
requiring public promises
of one’s intention
to fulfil a private obligation:
I wonder what Adam and Eve
think of it by this time,
this fire-gilt steel
alive with goldenness;
how bright it shows –
“of circular traditions and impostures,
committing many spoils,”
requiring all one’s criminal ingenuity
to avoid!
Psychology which explains everything
explains nothing,
and we are still in doubt.

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Happy brides and grooms are streaming out of the Cambridge Town Hall. I think of my own friends, who have never been able to count on health insurance, Thanksgiving invitations, or immigration status for their beloveds. The pictures in the _Boston Globe_ remind me, briefly, of my late teens, when every month the world shook out a new and wonderful upset: a young, bright female president, Trabants streaming west, Mandela freed, condoms sold in the Student Union. It seemed natural then that freedom would keep brimming over.

I want to jump on the Fung Wah bus to Boston to throw rice.

When it’s over, I want to say: all my life
I was a bride married to amazement.
I was a bridegroom, taking the world into my arms.
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