The First White Wall of the Village . . .

METAPHORS OF A MAGNIFICO

Twenty men crossing a bridge,
Into a village,
Are twenty men crossing twenty bridges,
Into twenty villages,
Or one man
Crossing a single bridge into a village.

This is old song
That will not declare itself . . .

Twenty men crossing a bridge,
Into a village,
Are
Twenty men crossing a bridge
Into a village.

That will not declare itself
Yet is certain as meaning . . .

The boots of the men clump
On the boards of the bridge.
The first white wall of the village
Rises through fruit-trees.
Of what was it I was thinking?
So the meaning escapes.

The first white wall of the village…
The fruit-trees…

Wallace Stevens was one of the first poets I grew to admire specifically¬† b/c the poems often confounded me. Some of them left me confused–I often didn’t know what to think but found myself unable to stop trying to make a sense from them.

I remember, as an undergrad, taking an independent study with the poet Mark Halliday in which we studied Stevens’ work. I was excited to work with Mark, a writer I much admired, and Mark had written his dissertation on “Stevens and the Interpersonal.” At our first meeting, as we discussed which poems to study, Mark compiled a list, a list I’ve long forgotten, of Stevens poems he WOULDN’T cover b/c their meanings had always escaped him.

And that is one of the things I absolutely love about Stevens’ poems . . . they often escape sense but never stray too far from us, always lingering.

**This was one of the first poems I ever memorized (Seuss’ “Too Many Daves” came before, as well as a select few others, but this one was up there)

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: