Tuesday, February 9, 2010

It Must Give Pleasure (III)

[from Notes Toward a Supreme Fiction, by Wallace Stevens:]


A lasting visage in a lasting bush,
A face of stone in an unending red,
Red-emerald, red-slitted blue, a face of slate,

An ancient forehead hung with heavy hair,
The channel slots of rain, the red-rose-red
And weathered and the ruby-water-worn,

The vines around the throat, the shapeless lips,
The frown like serpents basking on the brow,
The spent feeling leaving nothing of itself,

Red-in-red repetitions never going
Away, a little rusty, a little rouged,
A little roughened and ruder, a crown

The eye could not escape, a red renown
blowing itself upon the tedious ear.
An effulgence faded, dull carnelian

Too venerably used. That might have been.
It might and might have been. But as it was,
A dead shepherd brought tremendous chords from hell

And bade the sheep carouse. Or so they said.
Children in love with them brought early flowers
And scattered them about, no two alike.


[All rights reserved by the author's estate - Please do not copy]

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