Vol. 8 No. 2 1941 - page 135

Believe unless we take them for ourselves
All of us: one here: another there:
Men not Man: people not the People:
Hands: mouths: arms: eyes: not syllables–
Believe unless we take them for ourselves
Others will take them: not for us: for others!
down to the panting fade-out of the finale:
America is promises to
America is promises to
To take them
With love but
Take them.
0 believe this !
Mr. MacLeish's
Poems: 1924-1933
already gave his readers
a difficult time in rescuing the lyrics of genuine beauty ("You
Andrew Marvell," "Pony Rock," "L'An Trentiesme," "Ars Poet–
ica," "Men of My Century loved Mozart") and the keen satirical
pieces ("The End of the World," "Memorial Rain") from the
mass of poems in which the virtues of these successes blurred out
into a meanginless pathetic vapor ("Men," "Way-Station," "Tour–
ist Death"), into mere word-sickness and fatigue ("&Forty-Second
Street," "Before March," "Interrogate the Stones"), and especially
into that pawky self-regard and carefully spotlighted embarrass–
ment ("Cinema of a Man," "Reproach to Dead Poets," "Senti–
ments for a Dedication") which has been the cardinal symptom of
Mr. MacLeish's personal insecurity and mistaken notion of iden–
tifying himself with his generation, his friends, his age, his past,
his future-with almost anything but his immediate duty and diffi–
culties. There is a fruitful passage in one of these poems
seems to contradict this weakness only to emphasize it; it bears
closely on the latest evolution of Mr. MacLeish's career:
I speak to my own time
To no time a-fter
80...,125,126,127,128,129,130,131,132,133,134 136,137,138,139,140,141,142,143,144,145,...160
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