Friday, September 07, 2007

Wallace Stevens

I'm not a big fan of Wallace Stevens, to be honest. I can think of several other modern poets whose work I enjoy much more. But we read this poem in my poetry writing class yesterday and I sort of fell in love with it. I do that sometimes with poems by poets I don't really like. The plum poem by William Carlos Williams, for instance.

Anyway. Here it is.

The Poems of Our Climate

Clear water in a brilliant bowl,
Pink and white carnations. The light
In the room more like a snowy air,
Reflecting snow. A newly-fallen snow
At the end of winter when afternoons return.
Pink and white carnations--one desires
So much more than that. The day itself
Is simplified: a bowl of white,
Cold, a cold porcelain, low and round,
With nothing more than the carnations there.

Say even that this complete simplicity
Stripped one of all one's torments, concealed
The evilly compounded, vital I
And made it fresh in a world of white,
A world of clear water, brilliant-edged,
Still one would want more, one would need more
More than a world of white and snowy scents.

There would remain the never-resting mind,
So that one would want to escape, come back
To what had been so long composed.
The imperfect is our paradise.
Note that, in this bitterness, delight,
Since the imperfect is so ot in us,
Lies in flawed words and stubborn sounds.

And that's Friday Poetry.

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