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 “Perhaps the truth depends on a walk around the lake.”

  – Wallace Stevens

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The Snow Man

by Wallace Stevens

 

 
 

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.

At the sight of blackbirds
Flying in a green light,
Even the bawds of euphony
Would cry out sharply.

– by Wallace Stevens, Thirteen Ways of Looking at a Blackbird, 1923

Swaying Trees

It is hard to hear the north wind again,
And to watch the treetops, as they sway.

They sway, deeply and loudly, in an effort,
So much less than feeling, so much less than speech,

Saying and saying, the way things say
On the level of that which is not yet knowledge:

A revelation not yet intended.
It is like a critic of God, the world

And human nature, pensively seated
On the waste throne of his own wilderness.

Deeplier, deeplier, loudlier, loudlier,
The trees are swaying, swaying, swaying.”

–   Wallace Stevens, The Region November

 

THIRTEEN WAYS OF LOOKING AT A BLACKBIRD by: Wallace Stevens 

I Among twenty snowy mountains,

The only moving thing

Was the eye of the black bird.

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.

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    "It is the set of the sails, not the direction of the wind that determines which way we will go."
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