Pigeons and stones

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I am sure—I mean I am not sure at all but I believe— the master poets must come at their poems as a hawk on a pigeon in one dive.

I can't. I chip away like a stonemason who has got it in his head that there is a pigeon in that block of marble.

But there’s a delight in the chipping. At least there’s a delight in it when your hunch that the pigeon is there is stronger than you as it carries you along. There is no straining then nor are you strained— all assurance and confidence.

Oh, you can be fooled, of course— there may be nothing there but a stone.

Archibald MacLeish





—Photograph by Jill Krementz.