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Of Modern Poetry

Written by: Wallace Stevens | Biography
 | Quotes (50) |
The poem of the mind in the act of finding
What will suffice.
It has not always had To find: the scene was set; it repeated what Was in the script.
Then the theatre was changed To something else.
Its past was a souvenir.
It has to be living, to learn the speech of the place.
It has to face the men of the time and to meet The women of the time.
It has to think about war And it has to find what will suffice.
It has To construct a new stage.
It has to be on that stage, And, like an insatiable actor, slowly and With meditation, speak words that in the ear, In the delicatest ear of the mind, repeat, Exactly, that which it wants to hear, at the sound Of which, an invisible audience listens, Not to the play, but to itself, expressed In an emotion as of two people, as of two Emotions becoming one.
The actor is A metaphysician in the dark, twanging An instrument, twanging a wiry string that gives Sounds passing through sudden rightnesses, wholly Containing the mind, below which it cannot descend, Beyond which it has no will to rise.
It must Be the finding of a satisfaction, and may Be of a man skating, a woman dancing, a woman Combing.
The poem of the act of the mind.



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