25.9.07

so the meaning escapes...

Wallace Stevens

Metaphors of a Magnifico


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…

*

A poem by Stevens with lots of food – a difficult but true possibility at its core. This is a well-balanced and controlled piece, and though not as dense as his typical works, a read that will surely make one’s head hurt – and that’s a good thing.

3 comments:

poet with a day job said...

This is such a beautiful poem. I've never seen this one. Thanks for posting.

Clare said...

I'm a HUGE fan of Wallace Stevens. Thanks for posting this one.

sam of the ten thousand things said...

Thanks for the visit, Melissa and Clare.