12 June 2005

The empress of ice-cream

You are Wallace Stevens. You love everything,
especially the sound of things. Too bad you
are so obscure that at times even you don't
understand what the hell you have written.

Which Famous Modern American Poet Are You?
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Nice one! But he's always made perfect sense to me...

The High-Toned Old Christian Woman

Poetry is the supreme fiction, madame.
Take the moral law and make a nave of it
And from the nave build haunted heaven. Thus,
The conscience is converted into palms,
Like windy citherns hankering for hymns.
We agree in principle. That's clear. But take
The opposing law and make a peristyle,
And from the peristyle project a masque
Beyond the planets. Thus, our bawdiness,
Unpurged by epitaph, indulged at last,
Is equally converted into palms,
Squiggling like saxophones. And palm for palm,
Madame, we are where we began. Allow,
Therefore, that in the planetary scene
Your disaffected flagellants, well-stuffed,
Smacking their muzzy bellies in parade,
Proud of such novelties of the sublime,
Such tink and tank and tunk-a-tunk-tunk,
May, merely may, madame, whip from themselves
A jovial hullabaloo among the spheres.
This will make widows wince. But fictive things
Wink as they will. Wink most when widows wince.


Stuart Greenhouse said...

Me too!

That is, I got Stevens & he also makes sense to me.

Even a poem like "To One of Fictive Music," which nut I've been squirreling at recently.

amcorrea said...

That's a great one. Like Alice says, "Somehow it seems to fill my head with ideas--only I don't exactly know what they are!" But on subsequent rereadings, the connections underneath the surface shimmer through. It's complex, but not incomprehensible--he makes beautiful sense.