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Disillusionment of Ten O'Clock

    THE houses are haunted
    By white night-gowns.
    None are green,
    Or purple with green rings,
    Or green with yellow rings,
    Or yellow with blue rings.
    None of them are strange,
    With socks of lace
    And beaded ceintures.
    People are not going
    To dream of baboons and periwinkles.
    Only, here and there, an old sailor,
    Drunk and asleep in his boots,
    Catches Tigers
    In red weather.

    Wallace Stevens


The Snow Man

    ONE must have a mind of winter
    To regard the frost and the boughs
    Of the pine-trees crusted with snow;

    And have been cold a long time
    To behold the junipers shagged with ice,
    The spruces rough in the distant glitter

    Of the January sun; and not to think
    Of any misery in the sound of the wind,
    In the sound of a few leaves,

    Which is the sound of the land
    Full of the same wind
    That is blowing the same bare place

    For the listener, who listens in the snow,
    And, nothing himself, beholds
    Nothing that is not there and the nothing that is.

    Wallace Stevens


The Emperor of Ice-Cream

    CALL the roller of big cigars,
    The muscular one, and bid him whip
    In kitchen cups concupiscent curds.
    Let the wenches dawdle in such dress
    As they are used to wear, and let the boys
    Bring flowers in last month's newspapers.
    Let be be the finale of seem.
    The only emperor is the emperor of ice-cream.

    Take from the dresser of deal,
    Lacking the three glass knobs, that sheet
    On which she embroidered fantails once
    And spread it so as to cover her face.
    If her horny feet protrude, they come
    To show how cold she is, and dumb.
    Let the lamp affix its beam.
    The only emperor is the emperor of ice-cream.

    Wallace Stevens


Thirteen Ways of Looking at a Blackbird

              I

    AMONG twenty snowy mountains
    The only moving thing
    Was the eye of the blackbird.

              II

    I was of three minds
    Like a tree
    In which there are three blackbirds.

              III

    The blackbird whirled in the autumn wind
    It was a small part of the pantomime.

              IV

    A man and a woman
    Are one.
    A man and a woman and a blackbird
    Are one.

              V

    I do not know which to prefer,
    The beauty of inflexions
    Or the beauty of innuendos,
    The blackbird whistling
    Or just after.

              VI

    Icicles filled the window
    With barbaric glass.
    The shadow of the blackbird
    Crossed it, to and fro.
    The Mood
    Traced in the shadow
    An indecipherable cause.

              VII

    O thin men of Haddam,
    Why do you imagine golden birds?
    Do you not see how the blackbird
    Walks around the feet
    Of the women about you?

              VIII

    I know noble accents
    And lucid, inescapable rythms;
    But I know, too,
    That the blackbird is involved
    In what I know.

              IX

    When the blackbird flew out of sight,
    It marked the edge
    Of one of many circles.

              X

    At the sight of blackbirds
    Flying in a green light
    Even the bawds of euphony
    Would cry out sharply.

              XI

    He rode over Connecticut
    In a glass coach.
    Once, a fear pierced him,
    In that he mistook
    The shadow of his equipage
    for blackbirds.

              XII

    The river is moving.
    The blackbird must be flying.

              XIII

    It was evening all afternoon.
    It was snowing
    And it was going to snow.
    The blackbird sat
    In the cedar limbs.

    Wallace Stevens


Anecdote of the Jar

    I PLACED a jar in Tennessee,
    And round it was, upon a hill.
    It made the slovenly wilderness
    Surround that hill.

    The wilderness rose up to it,
    And sprawled around, no longer wild.
    The jar was round upon the ground
    And tall and of a port in air.

    It took dominion everywhere.
    The jar was gray and bare.
    It did not give of bird or bush,
    Like nothing else in Tennessee.

    Wallace Stevens


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