Wallace Stevens The acute intelligence of the imagination, the illimitable resources of its memory, its power to possess the moment it perceives--if we were speaking of light itself, and thinking of the relationship between objects and light, no further demonstration would be necessary. Like light, it adds nothing, except itself. Wallace Stevens, The Necessary Angel
Wallace Stevens, “The Snow Man” One must have a mind of winter To regard the frost and the boughs Of the pine-trees crusted with snow; And have been cold a long time To behold the junipers shagged with ice, The spruces rough in the distant glitter Of the January sun; and not to think Of any misery in the sound of the wind, In the sound of a few leaves, Which is the sound of the land Full of the same wind That is blowing in the same bare place For the listener, who listens in the snow, And, nothing himself, beholds Nothing that is not there and the nothing that is.
Wallace Stevens, “The Emperor of Ice Cream” Call the roller of big cigars, The muscular one, and bid him whip In kitchen cups concupiscent curds. Let the wenches dawdle in such dress As they are used to wear, and let the boys Bring flowers in last month's newspapers. Let be be finale of seem. The only emperor is the emperor of ice-cream. Take from the dresser of deal. Lacking the three glass knobs, that sheet On which she embroidered fantails once And spread it so as to cover her face. If her horny feet protrude, they come To show how cold she is, and dumb. Let the lamp affix its beam. The only emperor is the emperor of ice-cream.
Wallace Stevens Thirteen Ways of Looking at a Blackbird I Among twenty snowy mountains, The only moving thing Was the eye of the blackbird. II I was of three minds, Like a tree In which there are three blackbirds. III The blackbird whirled in the autumn winds. It was a small part of the pantomime. IV A man and a woman Are one. A man and a woman and a blackbird Are one.
Wallace Stevens Thirteen Ways of Looking at a Blackbird V I do not know which to prefer, The beauty of inflections Or the beauty of innuendoes, The blackbird whistling Or just after. VI Icicles filled the long window With barbaric glass. The shadow of the blackbird Crossed it, to and fro. The mood Traced in the shadow An indecipherable cause.
Wallace Stevens Thirteen Ways of Looking at a Blackbird VII O thin men of Haddam, Why do you imagine golden birds? Do you not see how the blackbird Walks around the feet Of the women about you? VIII I know noble accents And lucid, inescapable rhythms; But I know, too, That the blackbird is involved In what I know. IX When the blackbird flew out of sight, It marked the edge Of one of many circles.
Wallace Stevens Thirteen Ways of Looking at a Blackbird X At the sight of blackbirds Flying in a green light, Even the bawds of euphony Would cry out sharply. XI He rode over Connecticut In a glass coach. Once, a fear pierced him, In that he mistook The shadow of his equipage For blackbirds.
Wallace Stevens Thirteen Ways of Looking at a Blackbird XII The river is moving. The blackbird must be flying. XIII It was evening all afternoon. It was snowing And it was going to snow. The blackbird sat In the cedar-limbs.
Wallace Stevens, “A Quiet Normal Life” His place, as he sat and as he thought, was not In anything that he constructed, so frail, So barely lit, so shadowed over and naught, As, for example, a world in which, like snow, He became an inhabitant, obedient To gallant notions on the part of cold. It was here. This was the setting and the time Of year. Here in his house and in his room, In his chair, the most tranquil thought grew peaked And the oldest and the warmest heart was cut By gallant notions on the part of night— Both late and alone, above the crickets’ chords, Babbling, each one, the uniqueness of its sound. There was no fury in transcendent forms. But his actual candle blazed with artifice.
Wallace Stevens, “Final Soliloquy of the Interior Paramour” Light the first light of evening In which we rest and, for small reason, think The world imagined is the ultimate good. This is, therefore, the intensest rendezvous. It is in that thought that we collect ourselves, Out of all the indifferences, into one thing: Within a single thing, a single shawl Wrapped tightly round us, since we are poor, a warmth, A light, a power, the miraculous influence. Here, now, we forget each other and ourselves. We feel the obscurity of an order, a whole, A knowledge, that which arranged the rendezvous.
Within its vital boundary, in the mind. We say God and the imagination are one... How high that highest candle lights the dark. Out of this same light, out of the central mind, We make a dwelling in the evening air, In which being there together is enough. Wallace Stevens, “Final Soliloquy of the Interior Paramour”
Ariel was glad he had written his poems. They were of a remembered time Or of something seen that he liked. Other makings of the sun Were waste and welter And the ripe shrub writhed. His self and the sun were one And his poems, although makings of his self, Were no less makings of the sun. It was not important that they survive. What mattered was that they should bear Some lineament or character, Some affluence, if only half-perceived, In the poverty of their words, Of the planet of which they were part. Wallace Stevens, “The Planet on the Table”