Friday, May 26, 2006

Friday Poetry: Wallace Stevens

Wallace Stevens
The Pleasures of Merely Circulating

The garden flew round with the angel,
The angel flew round with the cloud.
And the clouds flew round and the clouds flew round
And the clouds flew round with the clouds.

Is there any secret in skulls,
The cattle skulls in the woods?
Do the drummers in black hoods
Rumble anything out of their drums?

Mrs. Anderson's Swedish baby
Might well have been German or Spanish.
Yet that things go round and again go round
Has rather a classical sound.


At 7:52 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

One day I'm really going to understand Wallace Stevens. When I'm sixty and have won prizes with my brain. He's got this other poem about a jar, and that jar is death, and breaking into his poetry is for me about as hard and strange as trying to break into that jar in his poem. Gems, anything particular summon this one up?

At 8:43 AM, Blogger Gemma said...

This one for me is just about doing nothing, about going nowhere, and about the needs for and pleasures of that. It's a particularly summery poem for me; I usually get it in my head around this time of year, so I thought I'd put it up.

What I like about Stevens, at least the limited amounts of his work I know, is that you have to use intellect to dissect things that were so clearly visceral for him. I mean, Mrs. Anderson's Swedish baby doesn't have a goddamn thing to do with anything, and that's okay, but you have to think of Mrs. Anderson sleeping around and that becomes another image of spring fever. But he didn't have to do that. Which could make him painfully egotistical or a lot of fun, or both.


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