by Jonathan Vold

Saturday, December 10

Reflective Study of Wallace Stevens' Man and Bottle

The mind is the great poem of winter, the man
   The heart is the rose and ice of spring, the child
Who, to find what will suffice,
   Who, accepting everything,
Destroys romantic tenements
   Creates the real poetry
Of rose and ice  
   Of life

In the land of war.  More than the man, it is
   In a state of grace.  More than a child, it is
A man with the fury of the race of men,
   A child full of the innocence of youth,
A light at the centre of many lights
   A rising sun, a breaking light,
A man at the centre of men.
   A child at the edge of truth.
It has to content the reason concerning war,
   It never questions the cause or concern of grace,
It has to persuade that war is a part of itself,
   It never argues that grace is out of place, it is
A manner of thinking, a mode
   A matter of feeling, the core
Of destroying, as the mind destroys,
   Of creating, so the heart creates
An aversion, as the world is averted
   A convergence, as the dawn converges
From an old delusion, an old affair with the sun,
   To a new awareness, a new affair with the sun,
An impossible aberration with the moon,
   The inevitable deviation from the moon,
A grossness of peace.
   The end of night.

It is not the snow that is the quill, the page.
   It is not the rose that is the dawn, the spring.
The poem lashes more fiercely than the wind,
   The ice breaks, the winter melts away
As the mind, to find what will suffice, destroys
   As the heart, accepting everything, creates
Romantic tenements of rose and ice.
   The real poetry of life.

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