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Best Famous Wallace Stevens Poems

Here is a collection of the all-time best famous Wallace Stevens poems. This is a select list of the best famous Wallace Stevens poetry. Reading, writing, and enjoying famous Wallace Stevens poetry (as well as classical and contemporary poems) is a great past time. These top poems are the best examples of Wallace Stevens poems.

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Written by Wallace Stevens |

Sunday Morning

1
Complacencies of the peignoir, and late
Coffee and oranges in a sunny chair,
And the green freedom of a cockatoo
Upon a rug mingle to dissipate
The holy hush of ancient sacrifice.
She dreams a little, and she feels the dark Encroachment of that old catastrophe, As a calm darkens among water-lights.
The pungent oranges and bright, green wings Seem things in some procession of the dead, Winding across wide water, without sound.
The day is like wide water, without sound, Stilled for the passion of her dreaming feet Over the seas, to silent Palestine, Dominion of the blood and sepulchre.
2 Why should she give her bounty to the dead? What is divinity if it can come Only in silent shadows and in dreams? Shall she not find in the comforts of sun, In pungent fruit and bright, green wings, or else In any balm or beauty of the earth, Things to be cherished like the thought of heaven? Divinity must live within herself: Passions of rain, or moods in falling snow; Grievings in loneliness, or unsubdued Elations when the forest blooms; gusty Emotions on wet roads on autumn nights; All pleasures and all pains, remembering The bough of summer and the winter branch.
These are the measures destined for her soul.
3 Jove in the clouds had his inhuman birth.
No mother suckled him, no sweet land gave Large-mannered motions to his mythy mind He moved among us, as a muttering king, Magnificent, would move among his hinds, Until our blood, commingling, virginal, With heaven, brought such requital to desire The very hinds discerned it, in a star.
Shall our blood fail? Or shall it come to be The blood of paradise? And shall the earth Seem all of paradise that we shall know? The sky will be much friendlier then than now, A part of labor and a part of pain, And next in glory to enduring love, Not this dividing and indifferent blue.
4 She says, "I am content when wakened birds, Before they fly, test the reality Of misty fields, by their sweet questionings; But when the birds are gone, and their warm fields Return no more, where, then, is paradise?" There is not any haunt of prophecy, Nor any old chimera of the grave, Neither the golden underground, nor isle Melodious, where spirits gat them home, Nor visionary south, nor cloudy palm Remote as heaven's hill, that has endured As April's green endures; or will endure Like her rememberance of awakened birds, Or her desire for June and evening, tipped By the consummation of the swallow's wings.
5 She says, "But in contentment I still feel The need of some imperishable bliss.
" Death is the mother of beauty; hence from her, Alone, shall come fulfillment to our dreams And our desires.
Although she strews the leaves Of sure obliteration on our paths, The path sick sorrow took, the many paths Where triumph rang its brassy phrase, or love Whispered a little out of tenderness, She makes the willow shiver in the sun For maidens who were wont to sit and gaze Upon the grass, relinquished to their feet.
She causes boys to pile new plums and pears On disregarded plate.
The maidens taste And stray impassioned in the littering leaves.
6 Is there no change of death in paradise? Does ripe fruit never fall? Or do the boughs Hang always heavy in that perfect sky, Unchanging, yet so like our perishing earth, With rivers like our own that seek for seas They never find, the same receeding shores That never touch with inarticulate pang? Why set the pear upon those river-banks Or spice the shores with odors of the plum? Alas, that they should wear our colors there, The silken weavings of our afternoons, And pick the strings of our insipid lutes! Death is the mother of beauty, mystical, Within whose burning bosom we devise Our earthly mothers waiting, sleeplessly.
7 Supple and turbulent, a ring of men Shall chant in orgy on a summer morn Their boisterous devotion to the sun, Not as a god, but as a god might be, Naked among them, like a savage source.
Their chant shall be a chant of paradise, Out of their blood, returning to the sky; And in their chant shall enter, voice by voice, The windy lake wherein their lord delights, The trees, like serafin, and echoing hills, That choir among themselves long afterward.
They shall know well the heavenly fellowship Of men that perish and of summer morn.
And whence they came and whither they shall go The dew upon their feet shall manifest.
8 She hears, upon that water without sound, A voice that cries, "The tomb in Palestine Is not the porch of spirits lingering.
It is the grave of Jesus, where he lay.
" We live in an old chaos of the sun, Or old dependency of day and night, Or island solitude, unsponsered, free, Of that wide water, inescapable.
Deer walk upon our mountains, and the quail Whistle about us their spontaneous cries; Sweet berries ripen in the wilderness; And, in the isolation of the sky, At evening, casual flocks of pigeons make Abiguous undulations as they sink, Downward to darkness, on extended wings.

Written by Wallace Stevens |

Looking Across the Fields and Watching the Birds Fly

Among the more irritating minor ideas 
Of Mr.
Homburg during his visits home To Concord, at the edge of things, was this: To think away the grass, the trees, the clouds, Not to transform them into other things, Is only what the sun does every day, Until we say to ourselves that there may be A pensive nature, a mechanical And slightly detestable operandum, free From man's ghost, larger and yet a little like, Without his literature and without his gods .
.
.
No doubt we live beyond ourselves in air, In an element that does not do for us, so well, that which we do for ourselves, too big, A thing not planned for imagery or belief, Not one of the masculine myths we used to make, A transparency through which the swallow weaves, Without any form or any sense of form, What we know in what we see, what we feel in what We hear, what we are, beyond mystic disputation, In the tumult of integrations out of the sky, And what we think, a breathing like the wind, A moving part of a motion, a discovery Part of a discovery, a change part of a change, A sharing of color and being part of it.
The afternoon is visibly a source, Too wide, too irised, to be more than calm, Too much like thinking to be less than thought, Obscurest parent, obscurest patriarch, A daily majesty of meditation, That comes and goes in silences of its own.
We think, then as the sun shines or does not.
We think as wind skitters on a pond in a field Or we put mantles on our words because The same wind, rising and rising, makes a sound Like the last muting of winter as it ends.
A new scholar replacing an older one reflects A moment on this fantasia.
He seeks For a human that can be accounted for.
The spirit comes from the body of the world, Or so Mr.
Homburg thought: the body of a world Whose blunt laws make an affectation of mind, The mannerism of nature caught in a glass And there become a spirit's mannerism, A glass aswarm with things going as far as they can.

Written by Wallace Stevens |

Thirteen Ways of Looking at a Blackbird

I 
Among twenty snowy mountains, 
The only moving thing 
Was the eye of the blackbird.
II I was of three minds, Like a tree In which there are three blackbirds.
III The blackbird whirled in the autumn winds.
It was a small part of the pantomime.
IV A man and a woman Are one.
A man and a woman and a blackbird Are one.
V I do not know which to prefer, The beauty of inflections Or the beauty of innuendoes, The blackbird whistling Or just after.
VI Icicles filled the long window With barbaric glass.
The shadow of the blackbird Crossed it, to and fro.
The mood Traced in the shadow An indecipherable cause.
VII O thin men of Haddam, Why do you imagine golden birds? Do you not see how the blackbird Walks around the feet Of the women about you? VIII I know noble accents And lucid, inescapable rhythms; But I know, too, That the blackbird is involved In what I know.
IX When the blackbird flew out of sight, It marked the edge Of one of many circles.
X At the sight of blackbirds Flying in a green light, Even the bawds of euphony Would cry out sharply.
XI He rode over Connecticut In a glass coach.
Once, a fear pierced him, In that he mistook The shadow of his equipage For blackbirds.
XII The river is moving.
The blackbird must be flying.
XIII It was evening all afternoon.
It was snowing And it was going to snow.
The blackbird sat In the cedar-limbs.

Written by Wallace Stevens |

Poem Written at Morning

A sunny day's complete Poussiniana
Divide it from itself.
It is this or that And it is not.
By metaphor you paint A thing.
Thus, the pineapple was a leather fruit, A fruit for pewter, thorned and palmed and blue, To be served by men of ice.
The senses paint By metaphor.
The juice was fragranter Than wettest cinnamon.
It was cribled pears Dripping a morning sap.
The truth must be That you do not see, you experience, you feel, That the buxom eye brings merely its element To the total thing, a shapeless giant forced Upward.
Green were the curls upon that head.

Written by Wallace Stevens |

Of Modern Poetry

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.

Written by Wallace Stevens |

The Snow Man

One must have a mind of winter 
To regard the frost and the boughs 
Of the pine-trees crusted with snow; 

And have been cold a long time 
To behold the junipers shagged with ice, 
The spruces rough in the distant glitter 

Of the January sun; and not to think 
Of any misery in the sound of the wind, 
In the sound of a few leaves, 

Which is the sound of the land 
Full of the same wind 
That is blowing in the same bare place 

For the listener, who listens in the snow, 
And, nothing himself, beholds 
Nothing that is not there and the nothing that is.

Written by Wallace Stevens |

Domination of Black

At night, by the fire,
The colors of the bushes
And of the fallen leaves,
Repeating themselves,
Turned in the room,
Like the leaves themselves
Turning in the wind.
Yes: but the color of the heavy hemlocks Came striding.
And I remembered the cry of the peacocks.
The colors of their tails Were like the leaves themselves Turning in the wind, In the twilight wind.
They swept over the room, Just as they flew from the boughs of the hemlocks Down to the ground.
I heard them cry -- the peacocks.
Was it a cry against the twilight Or against the leaves themselves Turning in the wind, Turning as the flames Turned in the fire, Turning as the tails of the peacocks Turned in the loud fire, Loud as the hemlocks Full of the cry of the peacocks? Or was it a cry against the hemlocks? Out of the window, I saw how the planets gathered Like the leaves themselves Turning in the wind.
I saw how the night came, Came striding like the color of the heavy hemlocks I felt afraid.
And I remembered the cry of the peacocks.

Written by Wallace Stevens |

Disillusionment of Ten o Clock

The houses are haunted
By white night-gowns.
None are green, Or purple with green rings, Or green with yellow rings, Or yellow with blue rings.
None of them are strange, With socks of lace And beaded ceintures.
People are not going To dream of baboons and periwinkles.
Only, here and there, an old sailor, Drunk and asleep in his boots, Catches tigers In red weather.

Written by Wallace Stevens |

A Postcard From The Volcano

 Children picking up our bones
Will never know that these were once
As quick as foxes on the hill;

And that in autumn, when the grapes
Made sharp air sharper by their smell
These had a being, breathing frost;

And least will guess that with our bones
We left much more, left what still is
The look of things, left what we felt 

At what we saw.
The spring clouds blow Above the shuttered mansion-house, Beyond our gate and the windy sky Cries out a literate despair.
We knew for long the mansion's look And what we said of it became A part of what it is .
.
.
Children, Still weaving budded aureoles, Will speak our speech and never know, Will say of the mansion that it seems As if he that lived there left behind A spirit storming in blank walls, A dirty house in a gutted world, A tatter of shadows peaked to white, Smeared with the gold of the opulent sun.

Written by Wallace Stevens |

The House Was Quiet and the World Was Calm

The house was quiet and the world was calm.
The reader became the book; and summer night Was like the conscious being of the book.
The house was quiet and the world was calm.
The words were spoken as if there was no book, Except that the reader leaned above the page, Wanted to lean, wanted much most to be The scholar to whom the book is true, to whom The summer night is like a perfection of thought.
The house was quiet because it had to be.
The quiet was part of the meaning, part of the mind: The access of perfection to the page.
And the world was calm.
The truth in a calm world, In which there is no other meaning, itself Is calm, itself is summer and night, itself Is the reader leaning late and reading there.

Written by Wallace Stevens |

Gray Room (1917)

Although you sit in a room that is gray, 
Except for the silver 
Of the straw-paper, 
And pick 
At your pale white gown; 
Or lift one of the green beads 
Of your necklace, 
To let it fall; 
Or gaze at your green fan 
Printed with the red branches of a red willow; 
Or, with one finger, 
Move the leaf in the bowl-- 
The leaf that has fallen from the branches of the forsythia 
Beside you.
.
.
What is all this? I know how furiously your heart is beating.

Written by Wallace Stevens |

Anecdote of the Jar

I placed a jar in Tennessee, 
And round it was, upon a hill.
It made the slovenly wilderness Surround that hill.
The wilderness rose up to it, And sprawled around, no longer wild.
The jar was round upon the ground And tall and of a port in air.
It took dominion every where.
The jar was gray and bare.
It did not give of bird or bush, Like nothing else in Tennessee.

Written by Wallace Stevens |

The Idea of Order at Key West

She sang beyond the genius of the sea.
The water never formed to mind or voice, Like a body wholly body, fluttering Its empty sleeves; and yet its mimic motion Made constant cry, caused constantly a cry, That was not ours although we understood, Inhuman, of the veritable ocean.
The sea was not a mask.
No more was she.
The song and water were not medleyed sound Even if what she sang was what she heard.
Since what she sang was uttered word by word.
It may be that in all her phrases stirred The grinding water and the gasping wind; But it was she and not the sea we heard.
For she was the maker of the song she sang.
The ever-hooded, tragic-gestured sea Was merely a place by which she walked to sing.
Whose spirit is this? we said, because we knew It was the spirit that we sought and knew That we should ask this often as she sang.
If it was only the dark voice of the sea That rose, or even colored by many waves; If it was only the outer voice of sky And cloud, of the sunken coral water-walled, However clear, it would have been deep air, The heaving speech of air, a summer sound Repeated in a summer without end And sound alone.
But it was more than that, More even than her voice, and ours, among The meaningless plungings of water and the wind, Theatrical distances, bronze shadows heaped On high horizons, mountainous atmospheres Of sky and sea.
It was her voice that made The sky acutest at its vanishing.
She measured to the hour its solitude.
She was the single artificer of the world In which she sang.
And when she sang, the sea, Whatever self it had, became the self That was her song, for she was the maker.
Then we, As we beheld her striding there alone, Knew that there never was a world for her Except the one she sang and, singing, made.
Ramon Fernandez, tell me, if you know, Why, when the singing ended and we turned Toward the town, tell why the glassy lights, The lights in the fishing boats at anchor there, As night descended, tilting in the air, Mastered the night and portioned out the sea, Fixing emblazoned zones and fiery poles, Arranging, deepening, enchanting night.
Oh! Blessed rage for order, pale Ramon, The maker's rage to order words of the sea, Words of the fragrant portals, dimly-starred, And of ourselves and of our origins, In ghostlier demarcations, keener sounds.

Written by Wallace Stevens |

The River of Rivers in Connecticut

There is a great river this side of Stygia
Before one comes to the first black cataracts
And trees that lack the intelligence of trees.
In that river, far this side of Stygia, The mere flowing of the water is a gayety, Flashing and flashing in the sun.
On its banks, No shadow walks.
The river is fateful, Like the last one.
But there is no ferryman.
He could not bend against its propelling force.
It is not to be seen beneath the appearances That tell of it.
The steeple at Farmington Stands glistening and Haddam shines and sways.
It is the third commonness with light and air, A curriculum, a vigor, a local abstraction .
.
.
Call it, one more, a river, an unnamed flowing, Space-filled, reflecting the seasons, the folk-lore Of each of the senses; call it, again and again, The river that flows nowhere, like a sea.

Written by Wallace Stevens |

The Planet On The Table

 Ariel was glad he had written his poems.
They were of a remembered time Or of something seen that he liked.
Other makings of the sun Were waste and welter And the ripe shrub writhed.
His self and the sun were one And his poems, although makings of his self, Were no less makings of the sun.
It was not important that they survive.
What mattered was that they should bear Some lineament or character, Some affluence, if only half-perceived, In the poverty of their words, Of the planet of which they were part.