acute

2:36 PM Posted by James Owens

I've been tagged by Sorlil to post "a phrase: a few lines from a poem, a song, or an overheard sentence that rings important inside you."

The below is sort of long, but it is hard to excerpt, and it's still only one section of a longer poem. It is mostly the last three lines that ring inside me, a definition of art, or at least a definition of poetry.

from "The Bouquet" by Wallace Stevens

Section III

The rose, the delphinium, the red, the blue,
Are questions of the looks they get. The bouquet,
Regarded by the meta-men, is quirked

And queered by the lavishings of their will to see.
It stands a sovereign of souvenirs
Neither remembered nor forgotten, nor old,

Nor new, nor in the sense of memory.
It is a symbol, a sovereign of symbols
In its interpretations voluble,

Embellished by the quicknesses of sight,
When in a way of seeing seen, an extreme,
A sovereign, a souvenir, a sign,

Of today, of this morning, of this afternoon,
Not yesterday, nor tomorrow, an appanage
Of indolent summer not quite physical

And yet of summer, the petty tones
Its colors make, the migratory daze,
The doubling second things, not mystical,

The infinite of the actual perceived,
A freedom revealed, a realization touched,
A real made more acute by an unreal.

.

4 comments:

Sorlil said...

You know I've never really read much of Stevens, and that I really ought to remedy. 'The infinite of the actual perceived' - there is a lot to learn from this.

Sorlil said...

I also meant to say thanks for playing, I've found this really interesting.

James Owens said...

Stevens is one of those poets whose work one never gets to the end of. New rooms keep opening up through secret passageways and on the other side of hidden mirrors.

Thanks for asking me to play.

sam of the ten thousand things said...

Great poem, great poet. I fall into these lines:

Of today, of this morning, of this afternoon,
Not yesterday, nor tomorrow, an appanage
Of indolent summer not quite physical

And yet of summer, the petty tones
Its colors make, the migratory daze,
The doubling second things, not mystical,

-especially "the migratory daze, /
The doubling second things"