Poem-a-Day Collection (19)

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19
Poem-a-Day Collection
by Knopf
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Poem-a-Day Collection by Knopf. Compilation copyright 2009 by Knopf.
All Rights Reserved. Sharing not permitted.


The American Sublime

By Wallace Stevens

How does one stand
To behold the sublime,
To confront the mockers,
The mickey mockers
And plated pairs?

When General Jackson
Posed for his statue
He knew how one feels.
Shall a man go barefoot
Blinking and blank?

But how does one feel?
One grows used to the weather,
The landscape and that;
And the sublime comes down
To the spirit itself,

The spirit and space,
The empty spirit
In vacant space.
What wine does one drink?
What bread does one eat?

Dance Lessons of the Thirties

By Donald Justice

Wafts of old incense mixed with Cuban coffee
Hung on the air; a fan turned; it was summer.
And (of the buried life) some last aroma
Still clung to the tumbled cushions of the sofa.

At lesson time, pushed back, it used to be
The thing we managed somehow just to miss
With our last-second dips and whirls—all this
While the Victrola wound down gradually.

And this was their exile, those brave ladies who taught us
So much of art, and stepped off to their doom
Demonstrating the fox-trot with their daughters
Endlessly around some sad and makeshift ballroom.

O little lost Bohemias of the suburbs!

--

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Excerpts from SELECTED POEMS copyright © 2009 by The Estate of Wallace Stevens and COLLECTED POEMS copyright © 2004 by Donald Justice. Excerpted by permission of Alfred A. Knopf, a division of Random House, Inc. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.




A Message from DailyLit
Question of the Week: What's your Proustian moment (i.e., is there a smell or taste that evokes a particular memory)? Click here to share.
Message from DailyLit
Question of the Week: What's your Proustian moment (i.e., is there a smell or taste that evokes a particular memory)? Click here to share.
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