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The Library Inscriptions – Our Lives

High on the east wall of the outer lobby is a panel with the words

Our lives flower and pass. Only
robust works of the imagination
live in eternity…

Picture of inscription “Our lives flower…”

These are lines from Denise Levertov’s poem “Art (After Gautier),” a free translation of Theophile Gautier’s poem “L’Art,” in Emaux et Camees, 1872. The poem was published in her collection, With Eyes At the Back Of Our Heads (New York, 1959, page 72).

This panel, like the one opposite it, is dark gray Buckingham slate from a quarry in Arvonia, Virginia, split from the same quarry block, with matched surfaces. The text is carved in a modern version of the chancery italic hand.

This panel and the two adjacent panels were installed in late July, 1993.

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