Monday, February 2, 2009

“Domination of Black”

As my contribution to “The Fourth Annual Bloggers (Silent) Poetry Reading,” one of my favorite poems without further comment. Thanks both to Willow of Life at Willow Manor & mouse of mouse medicine for announcing this event, which is organized by Reya of The Gold Puppy—a fantastic blog that’s new to me.

Domination of Black

At night, by the fire,

The colors of the bushes
And of the fallen leaves,
Repeating themselves,
Turned in the room,
Like the leaves themselves

Turning in the wind.
Yes: but the color of the heavy hemlocks
Came striding.
And I remembered the cry of the peacocks.

The colors of their tails
Were like the leaves themselves

Turning in the wind,
In the twilight wind.
They swept over the room,
Just as they flew from the boughs of the hemlocks
Down to the ground.
I heard them cry— the peacocks.
Was it a cry against the twilight
Or against the leaves themselves
Turning in the wind,

Turning as the flames
Turned in the fire,
Turning as the tails of the peacocks
Turned in the loud fire,
Loud as the hemlocks
Full of the cry of the peacocks?
Or was it a cry against the hemlocks?

Out of the window,
I saw how the planets gathered
Like the leaves themselves
Turning in the wind.
I saw how the night came,
Came striding like the color of the heavy hemlocks
I felt afraid.
And I remembered the cry of the peacocks.

Wallace Stevens


  1. Oh, I love this lovely, haunting poem. In fact, funny that you posted it, because I just read it in a book of Wallace Stevens poems I picked up from the library Friday!

    I'm glad you participated in the poetry event.

  2. Thanks Willow:

    Glad you enjoyed this poem. I adore Stevens poetry-- overall, he may well have been the biggest poetic influence on me. I've kiddingly said that "Wallace Stevens' Banjo" might be a better reflection of my own aesthetics, but it just doesn't have the same ring.

    I appreciated learning about the event from you & kimy, & I really like "The Gold Puppy."

  3. Talk about chilling. I sure like poetry that gets at the profound in plain language.

    Dig out your copy of The Great Gatsby and compare this poem to the Peacock Scene, the one where Gatsby reunites with Daisy during the party at his mansion. He gets her into his bedroom and starts pulling out and throwing around shirts of wildly varying colors. We LitCrit types liken his beg=havior to a peacock displaying for a prospective mate.

    Drop by Citizen K. later today and pick up your Superior Scribbler award.

  4. Hi K:

    Geez, thanks-- I'll be by shortly. Sadly, my "Great Gatsby" is in our old house (long story on storage issues still being resolved with our "new" house), so I might have to wait & check that until the snow dwindles a bit.

    Glad you liked the poem.


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