Tuesday, 16 August 2011


The illuminating Wallace Stevens' poem ON THE ROAD HOME comes immediately before the poem I have featured in the post below this, at least it does so in my 534 pp volume of this poet's collected works, and I suspect there are many good reasons for this being so.

I see connections between the two poems and I will highlight some of the text of ON THE ROAD . . . with a view to signposting the route, as I see it, to the connections and thereby to the finding of the poet's 'points of view' as I like to think of them, and thereby towards understanding.


It was when I said,
"There is no such thing as the truth,"
That the grapes seemed fatter.
The fox ran out of his hole.

You . . . You said,
"There are many truths,
But they are not parts of a truth."
Then the tree, at night, began to change,

Smoking through green and smoking blue.
We were two figures in a wood.
We said we stood alone.

It was when I said,
"Words are not forms of a single word
In the sum of the parts, there are only the parts.
The world must be measured by eye";

It was when you said,
"The idols have seen lots of poverty,
Snakes and gold and lice,
But not the truth";

It was at that time, that the silence was largest
And longest, the night was roundest,
The fragrance of the autumn warmest,
Closest and strongest.

Wallace Stevens


  1. It is poetry like this which makes me sad that I no long belong to a poetry discussion group. It asks to be taken apart and discussed Gwilym.

  2. It does indeed. The poem's title is a good one, is it not?

  3. what are the two stated philosophical positions of the
    speakers? How might people typically react if someone said to them, “there is no
    truth, or what you think of as a large, singular Truth--that doesn’t exist”? How do
    the people in this poem react? Why? What is the tone of the last stanza of the

  4. The questions you ask are for each to answer for himself, but I think my reply to Weaver of Grass in the post previous to this and the reply of Dominic Rivron to another of my Wallace Stevens posts where Rivron talks about an octopus opening a jam jar might have some bearing on the matters raised.


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