There it was, word for word,
The poem that took the place of a mountain.
He breathed its oxygen,
Even when the book lay turned in the dust of his table.
It reminded him how he had needed
A place to go to in his own direction,
How he had recomposed the pines,
Shifted the rocks and picked his way among clouds,
For the outlook that would be right,
Where he would be complete in an unexplained completion:
The exact rock where his inexactness
Would discover, at last, the view toward which they had edged,
Where he could lie and, gazing down at the sea,
Recognize his unique and solitary home.
I love this piece of work. How imaginative to use a mountain as an analogy for a poem. And how true it is. If you wish, there are several sites online where you can read about what Stevens may have meant. You must take that journey on your own however. I am content to read it as it is.
As for Stevens himself, he led (to my way of thinking) a surprising life for a poet. He worked as the vice-president of the New York office of the Equitable Surety Company.
And if not for his poetry, for which he won many top accolades, he could have been known as the man who broke his hand, apparently from hitting Hemingway’s jaw. To fill some of the gaps inbetween and learn more about this amazing writer, go here
To return to Tuesday Poem hub where today’s editor is Kathleen Jones with a wonderful poem by Jean Sprackland, go here.