Wednesday, 1 October 2008

What we see is what we think

October, the month of Hallowe'en, is with us and the light is changing. The title of this post is a poem title from Wallace Stevens who entered this world on the 2nd day of October 1879. 'Poetry,' said Stevens, 'is my way of making the world palatable. It's the way of making one's experience, almost wholly inexplicable, acceptable.'

What we see is what we think

At twelve, the disintegration of afternoon
Began, the return of phantomerei, if not
To phantoms. Till then it had been the other way:

One imagined the violet trees but the trees stood green,
At twelve, as green as ever they would be.
The sky was blue beyond the vaultiest phrase.

Twelve meant as much as: the end of normal time,
Straight up, an elan without harrowing,
The imprescriptible zenith, free of harangue,

Twelve and the first gray second after, a kind
Of violet gray, a green violet, a thread
To weave a shadow's leg or sleeve, a scrawl

On the pedestal, an ambitious page dog-eared
At the upper right, a pyramid with one side
Like a spectral cut in its perception, a tilt

And its tawny caricature and tawny life,
Another thought, the paramount ado ...
Since what we think is never what we see.

Wallace Stevens 1879 - 1955

No comments:

Post a Comment

Note: only a member of this blog may post a comment.