Monday, July 18, 2011

The Man with the Blue Guitar (XVI)


The earth is not earth but a stone,
Not the mother that held men as they fell

But stone, but like a stone, no: not
The mother, but an oppressor, but like

An oppressor that grudges them their death,
As it grudges the living that they live.

To live in war, to live at war,
To chop the sullen psaltery,

To improve the sewers in Jerusalem,
To electrify the nimbuses--

Place honey on the altars and die,
You lovers that are bitter at heart.

Wallace Stevens
from The Man with the Blue Guitar, 1937

[Poem is in the public domain in Canada]

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