Thursday, January 29, 2009

The House Was Quiet... by Wallace Stevens

I think that anyone who loves reading will take to this one.  The poem's mood--created by the lulling music, repetition and the lack of strong verbs--complements the subject so well.


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 to be
The scholar to whom his 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.



Wallace Stevens (1879-1955), a lawyer and business man for most of his life, is considered one of the great American poets of the 20th Century. More than any other modern poet, Stevens was concerned with the transformative power of the imagination. Composing poems on his way to and from the office and in the evenings, Stevens continued to spend his days behind a desk at the office, and led a quiet, uneventful life.

14 Comments:

Blogger ginger said...

bravo!

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Blogger Todd X. said...

Oh, Rush, you're so sensitive.

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Blogger James Watkins said...

I think a good poem demands that you instantly read it again once your at the bottom of it. This demanded that of me! Thanks for finding and sharing.

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Anonymous HMS said...

I read it thrice and I'm still entranced. Thank you for posting such wonderful poems!

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