Marianne Moore was an American poet, born in Missouri today in 1887. Here’s her basic information, from Wikipedia: “Marianne Craig Moore (November 15, 1887 – February 5, 1972) was an American Modernist poet, critic, translator, and editor. Her poetry is noted for formal innovation, precise diction, irony, and wit.”
One of her well-known poems is called “Armor’s Undermining Modesty,” and was written in 1950. Here is a two-stanza excerpt:
Arise, for it is day.
Even gifted scholars lose their way
through faulty etymology.
No wonder we hate poetry,
and new stars and harps and the new moon. If tributes cannot
give me diatribes and the fragrance of iodine,
the cork oak acorn grown in Spain;
the pale-ale-eyed impersonal look
which the sales-placard gives the bock beer buck.
What is more precise than precision? Illusion.
According to the footnote to the poem, the “bock beer buck” Moore referred to was a New Jersey brand called “Old Bohemian Bock Beer,” which was brewed by Eastern Beverage Company of Hammonton. Below is a label of “Old Bohemian Bock Beer” from the year she wrote the poem, 1950.
But according to Moore herself, the inspiration for that line came from a poster, not a beer label, that was advertising their bock beer, and the “buck” refers to the male goat used in both the poster and labels. I don’t know if this is the same poster (probably not) but it was the only one I could find.