Saturday, November 27, 2010

The Spirit Is Too Blunt an Instrument

The Spirit Is Too Blunt an Instrument

The spirit is too blunt an instrument
to have made this baby.
Nothing so unskilful as human passions
could have managed the intricate
exacting particulars: the tiny
blind bones with their manipulating tendons,
the knee and the knucklebones, the resilient
fine meshings of ganglia and vertebrae,
the chain of the difficult spine.

Observe the distinct eyelashes and sharp crescent
fingernails, the shell-like complexity
of the ear, with its firm involutions
concentric in miniature to minute
ossicles. Imagine the
infinitesimal capillaries, the flawless connections
of the lungs, the invisible neural filaments
through which the completed body
already answers to the brain.

Then name any passion or sentiment
possessed of the simplest accuracy.
No, no desire or affection could have done
with practice what habit
has done perfectly, indifferently,
through the body's ignorant precision.
It is left to the vagaries of the mind to invent
love and despair and anxiety
and their pain.

by Anne Stevenson

Anne Stevenson, "The Spirit is Too Blunt an Instrument" from Poems 1955-2005.

* Ella and Amelia, 8 days old


  1. They are absolutely beautiful. And that poem... just really explains it all, doesn't it? Love everything about this post, especially your adorable children. Congrats again!

  2. i've never read that - thank you. and yes...they are such a miracle.

  3. Just sheer perfection, both of them x

  4. hongera sana! beautiful. x j

  5. this whole photo poem thing. it works so so so beautifully.

  6. I've never posted but I avidly read your blog during my wedding preparations and I am avidly awaiting each post now that we're hoping to extend our little family beyond the snoozing black dog lying next to me as I type. So pleased we didn't have to wait 6-8 months or a year...

  7. Beautiful girls. Think I've read that poem only once before. I remember seeng William's perfect little spine on the scan, and yes, that's exactly it...

  8. Oh. Beautiful poem. And beautiful girls.

  9. love the peacefull faces of the babies


play nice.