[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.
— Wallace Stevens, from “Domination of Black”
It matters, because everything we say
Of the past is description without place, a cast
Of the imagination, made in sound;
And because what we say of the future must portend,
Be alive with its own seemings, seeming to be
Like rubies reddened by rubies reddening.
— Wallace Stevens, from “Description Without Place”
[It is not the premise that reality
Is a solid.] It may be a shade that traverses
A dust, a force that traverses a shade.
— Wallace Stevens, from “An Ordinary Evening in New Haven”
Except for our own houses, huddled low
Beneath the arches and their spangled air,
Beneath the rhapsodies of fire and fire,
Where the voice that is in us makes a true response,
Where the voice that is great with us rises up,
As we stand gazing at the rounded moon.
— Wallace Stevens, from “Evening Without Angels”
I know how furiously your heart is beating.
— Wallace Stevens, from “Gray Room” (thanks, maquila
Yet there was a man within me
Could have risen to the clouds,
Could have touched these winds,
Bent and broken them down,
Could have stood up sharply in the sky.
— Wallace Stevens, from “A Weak Mind in the Mountains”