This Is Old Song, That Will Not Declare Itself

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Wallace Stevens

The Man In The Dump

(Excerpt last stanza)
by Wallace Stevens

One sits and beats an old tin can, lard pail.
One beats and beats for that which one believes.
That’s what one wants to get near. Could it after all
Be merely oneself, as superior as the ear
To a crow’s voice? Did the nightingale torture the ear,
Peck the heart and scratch the mind? And does the ear
Solace itself in peevish birds? Is it peace,
Is it a philosopher’s honeymoon, one finds
On the dump? Is it to sit among mattresses of the dead,
Bottles, pots, shoes and grass and murmur aptest eve:
Is it to hear the blatter of grackles and say
Invisible priest; is it to eject, to pull
The day to pieces and cry stanza my stone?
Where was it one first heard of the truth? The the.

Wallace Stevens wrote wonderfully odd poetry, just think if he were alive today and trying to out do the oddity of real life? Would he have given up trying to write poetry and become a painter instead?  Or would he have just studied the actuarial tables for life insurance a little harder and drove his wife nuts even faster?  I love Wallace Stevens.  His creativity is astounding.  And although I don’t think he intended The Man In The Dump to be a commentary on the 2020 presidential election, he was brilliantly prescient.

“Where was it one first heard of the truth?” 
 
What ever your truth happens to be, or is truth now a metaphor, The the.?


Metaphors of a Magnifico

by Wallace Stevens

Twenty men crossing a bridge,
Into a village,
Are twenty men crossing twenty bridges,
Into twenty villages,
Or one man
Crossing a single bridge into a village.

This is old song
That will not declare itself . . .

Twenty men crossing a bridge,
Into a village,
Are
Twenty men crossing a bridge
Into a village.

That will not declare itself
Yet is certain as meaning . . .

The boots of the men clump
On the boards of the bridge.
The first white wall of the village
Rises through fruit-trees.
Of what was it I was thinking?
So the meaning escapes.

The first white wall of the village . . .
The fruit-trees . . .

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A Sonnet Obsession

I am a life-long Minnesotan who resides in Minneapolis. I hope you enjoy my curated selection of sonnets, short poems and nerdy ruminations.

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