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Thread: Wallace Stevens

  1. #61
    Registered User quasimodo1's Avatar
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    Wallace Stevens

    FROM THE MISERY OF DON JOOST
    I have finished my combat with the sun;
    And my body, the old animal,
    Knows nothing more.
    The powerful seasons bred and killed,
    And were themselves the genii
    Of their own ends.
    Oh, but the very self of the storm
    Of sun and slaves, bleeding and death,
    The old animal,
    The senses and feeling, the very sound
    And sight, and all there was of the storm,
    Knows nothing more. {from HARMONIUM, 1923}

  2. #62
    Vincit Qui Se Vincit Virgil's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by quasimodo1 View Post
    FROM THE MISERY OF DON JOOST
    I have finished my combat with the sun;
    And my body, the old animal,
    Knows nothing more.
    The powerful seasons bred and killed,
    And were themselves the genii
    Of their own ends.
    Oh, but the very self of the storm
    Of sun and slaves, bleeding and death,
    The old animal,
    The senses and feeling, the very sound
    And sight, and all there was of the storm,
    Knows nothing more. {from HARMONIUM, 1923}
    Love it. You know Quasi, if the poem is from Harmonium published in 1923, I think you can post the entire poem. If it's before the copywrite date of 1926 (I think it is) it can be freely distributed. I guess you can check with Logos.
    LET THERE BE LIGHT

    "Love follows knowledge." – St. Catherine of Siena

    My literature blog: http://ashesfromburntroses.blogspot.com/

  3. #63
    Registered User quasimodo1's Avatar
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    Virgil: According to my text, that is the entire poem. I realize that Stevens brackets the public domain vs copyright period so some of these great poems will have to be excerpted. Having a little trouble with format as I'm sure you noticed...no stanza break. q1

  4. #64
    Registered User quasimodo1's Avatar
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    Wallace Stevens

    A THOUGHT REVOLVED
    Mystic Garden & Middling Beast (II)


    The poet striding among the cigar stores,
    Ryan's lunch, hatters, insurance and medicines,
    Denies that abstraction is a vice except
    To the fatuous. These are his infernal walls,
    A space of stone, of inexplicable base
    And peaks outsoaring possible adjectives.
    One man, the idea of man, that is the space,
    The true abstract in which he promenades.
    The era of the idea of man, the cloak
    And speech of Virgil dropped, that's where he walks,
    That's where his hymns come crowding, hero hymns,
    Chorals for mountain voices and the moral chant,
    Happy rather than holy but happy-high,
    Day hymns instead of constellated rhymes,
    Hymns of the struggle of the idea of god
    And the idea of man, the mystic garden and
    The middling beast, the garden of paradise
    And he that created the garden and peopled it. -- {part 2 of 4}

  5. #65
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    Wallace Stevens

    Wallace Stevens

    Friday, August 15, 2008
    12:29 PM

    CONNOISSEUR OF CHAOS

    A. A violent order is disorder; and
    B. A great disorder is an order. These
    Two things are one. (Pages of illustrations.)

    II. If all the green of spring was blue, and it is;
    If the flowers of South Africa were bright
    On the tables of Connecticut, and they are;
    If Englishmen lived without tea in Ceylon, and they do;
    And if it all went on in an orderly way,
    And it does; a law of inherent opposites,
    Of essential unity, is as pleasant as port,
    As pleasant as the brush-strokes of a bough,
    An Upper, particular bough in, say, Marchand.

    III. After all the pretty contrast of life and death
    Proves that these opposite things partake at one,
    At least that was the theory, when bishops' books
    Resolved the world. We cannot go back to that.
    The squirming facts exceed the squamous mind,
    If one may say so. And yet relation appears,
    A small relation expanding like the shade
    Of a cloud on sand, a shape on the side of a hill. {3 of 5 parts}

  6. #66
    Registered User quasimodo1's Avatar
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    Wallace Stevens

    Wallace Stevens



    THE PURE GOOD OF THEORY
    I. All the Preludes to Felicity
    It is time that beats in the breast and it is time
    That batters against the mind, silent and proud,
    The mind that knows it is destroyed by time.

    Time is a horse that runs in the heart, a horse
    Without a rider on a road at night.
    The mind sits listening and hears it pass.

    It is someone walking rapidly in the street.
    The reader by the window has finished his book
    And tells the hour by the lateness of the sounds.

    Even breathing is the beating of time, in kind:
    A retardation of its battering,
    A horse grotesquely taut, a walker like

    A shadow in mid-earth……If we propose
    A large-sculptured, platonic person, free from time,
    And imagine for him the speech he cannot speak,

    A form, then, protected from the battering, may
    Mature: A capable being may replace
    Dark horse and walker walking rapidly.

    Felicity, ah! Time is the hooded enemy,
    The inimical music, the enchantered space
    In which the enchanted preludes have their place.

    II. Description of a Platonic Person
    Then came Brazil to nourish the emaciated
    Romantic with dreams of her avoirdupois, green glade
    Of serpents like z rivers simmering,

    Green glade and holiday hotel and world
    Of the future, in which the memory had gone
    From everything, flying the flag of the nude,

    The flag of the nude above the holiday hotel.
    But there was one invalid in that green glade
    And beneath that handkerchief drapeau, severe,

    Signal, a character out of solitude,
    Who was what people had been and still were,
    Who lay in bed on the west wall of the sea,

    Ill of a question like a malady,
    Ill of a constant question in his thought,
    Unhappy about the sense of happiness.

    Was it that--a sense and beyond intelligence?
    Could the future rest on a sense and be beyond
    Intelligence? On what does the present rest?

    This platonic person discovered a soul in the world
    And studied it in his holiday hotel.
    ……{excerpt from four part poem}

  7. #67
    Registered User quasimodo1's Avatar
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    Wallace Stevens

    "Wallace Stevens is considered as an unapologetically Romantic poet of imagination. His search for meaning in a universe without religion in "Sunday Morning" is likened to Crane's energetic quest for meaning and symbol. In "The Poems of Our Climate," Stevens's desire to reduce poetry to essential terms, and then his countering resistance to this impulse, are explored. Finally, "The Man on the Dump" is considered as a typically Stevensian search for truth in specifically linguistic terms." from a Yale overview, poetry class.

  8. #68
    Registered User quasimodo1's Avatar
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    Wallace Stevens

    Wallace Stevens



    Reply to Papini
    "In all the solemn moments of human history……poets rose to sing
    the hymn of victory, or the psalm of supplication…..Cease, then,
    from being the astute calligraphers of congealed daydreams,
    the hunters of cerebral phosphorescences."
    Letter of Celestin VI, Pope, to the poets
    P.C.C. Giovanni Papini

    I. Poor procurator, why do you ask someone else
    To say what Celestin should say for himself

    He has an ever-living subject. The poet
    Has only the formulations of midnight.

    Is Celestin dislodged? The way through the world
    Is more difficult to find than the way beyond it.

    You know that the nucleus of time is not
    The poet but the poem, the growth of the mind

    Of the world, the heroic effort to live expressed
    As victory. The poet does not speak in ruins

    Nor stand there making orotund consolations.
    He shares the confusions of intelligence.

    Giovanni Papini, by your faith, know how
    He wishes that all hard poetry were true.

    This pastoral of endurance and of death
    Is of a nature that must be perceived

    And not imagined. The removes must give,
    Including the removes toward poetry.

    II. Celestinn, the generous, the civilized,
    Will understand what it is to understand.

    The world is still profound and in its depths
    Man sits and studies silence and himself,

    Abiding the reverberations in the vaults.
    Now, once, he accumulates himself and time

    For humane triumphals. But a politics
    Of property is not an area

    For triumphals. These are hymns appropriate to
    The complexities of the world, when apprehended,

    The intricacies of appearance, when perceived.
    They become our gradual possession. ... {excerpt}

  9. #69
    Registered User quasimodo1's Avatar
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    Wallace Stevens

    Wallace Stevens



    To an Old Philosopher in Rome

    On the threshold of heaven, the figures in the street
    Become the figures of heaven, the majestic movement
    Of men growing small in the distances of space,
    Singing, with smaller and still smaller sound,
    Unintelligible absolution and an end--

    The threshold, Rome, and that more merciful Rome
    Beyond, the two alike in the make of the mind.
    It is as if in a human dignity
    Two parallels become one, a perspective, of which
    Men are part both in the inch and in the mile.

    How easily the blown banners change to wings…...
    Things dark on the horizons of perception,
    Become accompaniments of fortune, but
    Of the fortune of the spirit, beyond the eye,
    Not of its sphere, and yet not far beyond,

    The human end in the spirit's greatest reach,
    The extreme of the known in the presence of the extreme
    Of the unknown. The newsboys' muttering
    Becomes another murmuring; the smell
    Of medicine, a fragrantness not to be spoiled…...

    The bed, the books, the chair, the moving nuns,
    The candle as it evades the sight, these are
    The sources of happiness in the shape of Rome,
    A shape within the ancient circles of shapes,
    And these beneath the shadow of a shape

    In a confusion on bed and books, a portent
    On the chair, a moving transparence on the nuns,
    A light of the candle tearing against the wick
    To join a hovering excellence, to escape
    From fire and be part only of that of which

    Fire is the symbol: the celestial possible.
    Speak to your pillow as if it was yourself.
    Be orator but with an accurate tongue
    And without eloquence, O, half-asleep,
    Of the pity that is the memorial of this room,

    So that we feel, in this illumined large,
    The veritable small, so that each of us
    Beholds himself in you, and hears his voice
    In yours, master and commiserable man,
    Intent on your particles of nether-do,

    Your dozing in the depths of wakefulness,
    In the warmth of your bed, at the edge of your chair, alive
    Yet living in two worlds, impenitent
    As to one, and, as to one, most penitent,
    Impatient for the grandeur that you need

    In so much misery; and yet finding it
    Only in misery, the afflatus of ruin,
    Profound poetry of the poor and of the dead,
    As in the last drop of the deepest blood,
    As it falls from the heart and lies there to be seen,

    Even as the blood of an empire, it might be,
    For a citizen of heaven though still of Rome.
    It is poverty's speech that seeks us out the most.
    It is older than the oldest speech of Rome.
    This is the tragic accent of the scene.

    And you-- it is you that speak it, without speech,
    The loftiest syllables among loftiest things,
    The one invulnerable man among
    Crude captains, the naked majesty, if you like,
    Of bird-nest arches and of rain-stained-vaults.

    {excerpt}

  10. #70
    Registered User quasimodo1's Avatar
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    Wallace Stevens

    The Auroras of Autumn



    I. This is where the serpent lives, the bodiless.
    His head is air. Beneath his tip at night
    Eyes open and fix on us in every sky.

    Or is this another wriggling out of the egg,
    Another image at the end of the cave,
    Another bodiless for the body's slough?

    This is where the serpent lives. This is his nest,
    These fields, these hills, these tinted distances,
    And the pines above and along and beside the sea.

    This is form gulping after formlessness,
    Skin flashing to wished-for disappearances
    And the serpent body flashing without the skin.

    This is the height emerging and its base
    These lights may finally attain a pole
    In the midmost midnight and find the serpent there,

    In another nest, the master of the maze
    Of body and air and forms and images,
    Relentlessly in possession of happiness.

    This is his poison: that we should disbelieve
    Even that. His meditations in the ferns,
    When he moved so slightly to make sure of sun,

    Made us no less as sure. We saw in his head,
    Black beaded on the rock, the flecked animal,
    The moving grass, the Indian in his glade.

    II. Farewell to an idea……A cabin stands,
    Deserted, on a beach. It is white,
    As by a custom or according to

    An ancestral theme or as a consequence
    Of an infinite course. The flowers against the wall
    Are white, a little dried, a kind of mark

    Reminding, trying to remind, of a white
    That was different, something else, last year
    Or before, not the white of an aging afternoon,

    Whether fresher or duller, whether of winter cloud
    Or of winter sky, from horizon to horizon.
    The wind is blowing the sand across the floor.

    Here, being visible is being white,
    Is being of the solid of white, the accomplishment
    Of an extremist in an exercise…...

    The season changes. A cold wind chills the beach.
    The long lines of it grow longer, emptier,
    A darkness gathers though it does not fall

    And the whiteness grows less vivid on the wall.
    The man who is walking turns blankly on the sand.
    He observes how the north is always enlarging the change,

    With its frigid brilliances, its blue-red sweeps
    And gusts of great enkindlings, its polar green,
    The color of ice and fire and solitude.

    II. Farewell to an idea……The mother's face,
    The purpose of the poem, fills the room.
    They are together, here, and it is warm,

    With none of the prescience of oncoming dreams.
    It is evening. The house is evening, half dissolved.
    Only the half they can never possess remains,

    Still-starred. It is the mother they possess,
    Who gives transparence to their present peace.
    She makes that gentler that can gentle be.

    And yet she too is dissolved, she is destroyed.
    She gives transparence. But she has grown old.
    The necklace is a carving not a kiss.

    The soft hands are a motion not a touch.
    The house will crumble and the books will burn.
    They are at ease in a shelter of the mind

    And the house is of the mind and they and time,
    Together, all together. Boreal night
    Will look like frost as it approaches them

    And to the mother as she falls asleep
    And as they say good-night, good-night. Upstairs
    The windows will be lighted, not the rooms.

    A wind will spread its windy grandeurs round
    And knock like a rifle-butt against the door.
    The wind will command them with invincible sound.

    IV. Farewell to an idea……The cancellings,
    The negations are never final. The father sits
    In space, wherever he sits, of bleak regard,

    As one that is strong in the bushes of his eyes.
    He says no to no and yes to yes. He says yes
    To no; and in saying yes he says farewell.

    He measures the velocities of change.
    He leaps from heaven to heaven more rapidly
    Than bad angels leap from heaven to hell in flames.

    But now he sits in quiet and green-a-day.
    He assumes the great speeds of space and flutters them
    From cloud to cloudless, cloudless to keen clear

    In flights of eye and ear, the highest eye
    And the lowest ear, the deep ear that discerns,
    At evening, things that attend it until it hears

    The supernatural preludes of its own,
    At the moment when the angelic eye defines
    Its actors approaching, in company, in their masks.

    Master O master seated by the fire
    And yet in space and motionless and yet
    Of motion the ever-brightening origin,

    Profound, and yet the king and yet the crown,
    Look at this present throne. What company,
    In masks, can choir it with the naked wind?

    V. The mother invites humanity to her house
    And table. The father fetches tellers of tales
    And musicians who mute much, muse much, on the tales,

    The father fetches negresses to dance,
    Among the children, like curious ripenesses
    Of pattern in the dance's ripening.

    For these the musicians make insidious tones,
    Clawing the sing-song of their instruments.
    The children laugh and jangle a tinny time.

    The father fetches pageants out of air,
    Scenes of the theatre, vistas and blocks of woods
    And curtains like a naïve pretence of sleep.

    Among these the musicians strike the instinctive poem.
    The father fetches his unherded herds,
    Of barbarous tongue, slavered and panting halves

    Of breath, obedient to his trumpet's touch.
    This then is Chatillon or as you please.
    We stand in the tumult of a festival.

    What festival? This loud, disordered mooch?
    These hospitaliers? These brute-like guests?
    These musicians dubbing at a tragedy,

    A-dub, a-dub, whichh is made up of this:
    That there are no lines to speak? There is no play.
    Or, the persons act one merely by being here.

    {5 of 10 parts}

  11. #71
    Registered User quasimodo1's Avatar
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    Wallace Stevens

    The Sail of Ulysses

    "Under the shape of his sail, Ulysses,
    Symbol of the seeker, crossing by night
    The giant sea, read his own mind.
    He said, 'As I know, I am and have
    The right to be'. Guiding his boat
    Under the middle stars, he said:"

    "If knowledge and the thing known are one
    So that to know a man is to be
    That man, to know a place is to be
    That place, and it seems to come to that;
    And if to know one man is to know all
    And if one's sense of a single spot
    Is what one knows of the universe,
    Then knowledge is the only life,
    The only sun of the only day,
    The only access to true ease,
    The deep comfort of the world and fate.

    II. There is a human loneliness;
    A part of space and solitude,
    In which knowledge cannot be denied,
    In which nothing of knowledge fails,
    The luminous companion, the hand,
    The fortifying arm, the profound
    Response, the completely answering voice,
    That which is more than anything else
    The right within us and about us,
    Joined, the triumphant vigor, felt,
    The inner direction on which we depend,
    That which keeps us the little that we are,
    The aid of greatness to be and the force."

    {excerpt, 2 of 8 parts}

  12. #72
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    Wallace Stevens

    ARCADES OF PHILADELPHIA THE PAST

    Only the rich remember the past,
    The strawberries once in the Apennines,
    Philadelphia that the spiders ate.

    There they sit, holding their eyes in their hands.
    Queer, in this Vallombrosa of ears,
    That they never hear the past. To see,
    To hear, to touch, to taste, to smell, that's now,
    That's this. Do they touch the thing they see,
    Feel the wind of it, smell the dust of it?
    They do not touch it. Sounds never rise
    Out of what they see. They polish their eyes
    In their hands. The lilacs came long after.
    But the town and the fragrance were never one,
    Though the blue bushes bloomed-- and bloom,
    Still bloom in the agate eyes, red blue,
    Red purple, never quite red itself.
    The tongue, the fingers, and the nose
    Are comic trash, the cars are dirt,
    But the eyes are men in the palm of the hand. .....



    {excerpt, collection 1942}

  13. #73
    Registered User quasimodo1's Avatar
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    Wallace Stevens

    From Uncollected Poems

    RED LOVES KIT

    Your yes her no, your no her yes. The words
    Make little difference, for being wrong
    And wronging her, if only as she thinks,
    You never can be right. You are the man.
    You brought the incredible calm of ecstasy,
    Which, like a virgin visionary spent
    In this spent world, she must possess. The gift
    Came not from you. Shall the world be spent again,
    Wasted in what would be an ultimate waste,
    A deprivation muffled in eclipse,
    The final theft? That you are innocent
    And love her still, still leaves you in the wrong.
    Where is that calm and where that ecstasy?
    Her words accuse you of adulteries
    That sack the sun, though metaphysical.

    II
    A beautiful thing, milord, is beautiful
    Not only in itself but in the things
    Around it. Thus it has a large expanse,
    As the moon has in its moonlight, worlds away,
    As the sea has in its coastal clamorings.
    So she, when in her mystic aureole
    She walks, triumphing humbly, should express
    Her beauty in your love. She should reflect
    Her glory in your passion and be proud.
    Her music should repeat itself in you,
    Impelled by a compulsive harmony.
    Milord, I ask you, though you will to sing,
    Does she will to be proud? True, you may love
    And she have beauty of a kind, but such
    Unhappy love reveals vast blemishes.

    III
    Rest, crows, upon the edges of the moon,
    Cover the golden altar deepest black,
    Fly upward thick in numbers, fly across
    The blueness of the half-night, fill the air
    And darken it, make an unbroken mat
    Out of the whirl and denseness of your wings,
    Spread over heaven shutting out the light.
    Then turn your heads and let your spiral eyes
    And move the night by their intelligent motes.
    Make a sidereal splendor as you fly.
    And you, good galliard, to enchant black thoughts
    Beseech them for an overwhelming gloom.
    It will be fecund in rapt curios.

    {entire poem, RED LOVES KIT, 1924}

  14. #74
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    Wallace Stevens

    From Parts Of A World

    ASIDES ON THE OBOE

    The prologues are over. It is a question now,
    Of final belief. So, say that final belief
    Must be in a fiction. It is time to choose.

    I
    That obsolete fiction of the wide river in
    An empty land; the gods that Boucher killed;
    And the metal heroes that time granulates--
    The philosopher's man alone still walks in dew,
    Still by the sea-side mutters milky lines
    Concerning an immaculate imagery.
    If you say on the hautboy man is not enough,
    Can never sand as god, is ever wrong
    In the end, however naked, tall, there is still
    The impossible possible philosophers' man,
    The man who has had the time to think enough,
    The central man, the human globe, responsive
    As a mirror with a voice, the man of glass,
    Who in a million diamonds sums us up.

    II
    He is the transparence of the place in which
    He is and in his poems we find peace.
    He sets this peddler's pie and cries in summer,
    The glass man, cold and numbered, dewily cries,
    "Thou art not August unless I make thee so."
    Clandestine steps upon imagined stairs
    Climb through the night, because his cuckoos call.

    III
    One year, death and war prevented the jasmine scent
    And the jasmine islands were bloody martyrdoms.
    How was it then with the central man? Did we
    Find peace? We found the sum of men. We found,
    If we found the central evil, the central good. {2 of 3 parts}


    {excerpt, Wallace Stevens}

  15. #75
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    Wallace Stevens

    THE WOMAN WHO BLAMED LIFE ON A SPANIARD

    I. You do not understand her evil mood.
    You think that like the moon she is obscured
    But clears and clears until an open night
    Reveals her, rounded in beneficence,
    Pellucid love; and for that image, like
    Some merciful divination, you forgive.
    And you forgive dark broachings growing great
    Night after night because, the hemisphere
    And still the impassioned place of it remain.
    If she is like the moon, she never clears
    But spreads an evil lustre whose increase
    Is evil, crisply bright, disclosing you
    Stooped in a night of vast inquietude.
    Observe her shinning in the deadly trees.

    II. That tragic prattle of the fates, astute
    To bring destruction, often seems high-pitched
    The babble of generations magnifies
    A mot into a dictum, communal,
    Of inescapable force, itself a fate.
    How, then, if nothing more than vanity
    Is at the bottom of her as pique-pain
    And picador? Be briny-blooded bull.
    Flatter her lance with your tempestuous dust,
    Make melic groans and tooter at her strokes,
    Rage in the ring and shake the corridors.
    Perhaps at so much mastery, the bliss
    She needs will come consolingly. Alas,
    It is a most spectacular role, and yet
    Less than contending with fictitious doom.


    {two of three parts, 1952}
    Last edited by quasimodo1; 09-06-2008 at 12:34 AM.

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