Thursday, November 3, 2011

"The Plain Sense of Things" by Wallace Stevens


After the leaves have fallen, we return
To a plain sense of things. It is as if
We had come to an end of the imagination,
Inanimate in an inert savoir.

It is difficult even to choose the adjective
For this blank cold, this sadness without cause.
The great structure has become a minor house.
No turban walks across the lessened floors.

The greenhouse never so badly needed paint.
The chimney is fifty years old and slants to one side.
A fantastic effort has failed, a repetition
In a repetitiousness of men and flies.

Yet the absence of the imagination had
Itself to be imagined. The great pond,
The plain sense of it, without reflections, leaves,
Mud, water like dirty glass, expressing silence

Of a sort, silence of a rat come out to see,
The great pond and its waste of the lilies, all this
Had to be imagined as an inevitable knowledge,
Required, as a necessity requires.

Source of the text - Wallace Stevens, Selected Poems, edited by John N. Serio. New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 2009, p. 277.

TJB: What! Wally, a poet? One must have a mind of winter to conclude lack of adornment is also itself an adornment. Deft use of -i, -ee, & -ai.

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