Monday, July 26, 2021

Of Mere Being

The Palm at the End of the Mind: Selected Poems and a PlayThe Palm at the End of the Mind: 
Selected Poems and a Play 
by Wallace Stevens

“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

This collection, while not as definitive as The Collected Poetry, includes all the major longer poems and many important shorter poems of critical value. Arranged in chronological order by probable date of composition this text provides the reader the possibility of considering the overall arc of Stevens' career. I find myself dipping into the poems included here time and again and it is difficult to pull myself away. The thoughtful consideration of art and meaning in life is seldom conveyed any better than in the poetry of Wallace Stevens.

"Of Mere Being"

The palm at the end of the mind,
Beyond the last thought, rises
In the bronze decor,

A gold-feathered bird
Sings in the palm, without human meaning,
Without human feeling, a foreign song.

You know then that it is not the reason
That makes us happy or unhappy.
The bird sings. Its feathers shine.

The palm stands on the edge of space.
The wind moves slowly in the branches.
The bird's fire-fangled feathers dangle down.

1 comment:

mudpuddle said...

wow! dynamite poem! i've read some of Steven's novels but not his poetry; i'll have to remedy that: this one blew me away! it's almost like four haiku linked together...