from Stanzas in Meditation: Stanza  1

By Gertrude Stein 1874–1946 Gertrude Stein
I caught a bird which made a ball   
And they thought better of it.
But it is all of which they taught
That they were in a hurry yet
In a kind of a way they meant it best
That they should change in and on account   
But they must not stare when they manage   
Whatever they are occasionally liable to do
It is often easy to pursue them once in a while   
And in a way there is no repose
They like it as well as they ever did   
But it is very often just by the time   
That they are able to separate
In which case in effect they could
Not only be very often present perfectly   
In each way whichever they chose.   
All of this never matters in authority
But this which they need as they are alike   
Or in an especial case they will fulfill
Not only what they have at their instigation   
Made for it as a decision in its entirety   
Made that they minded as well as blinded   
Lengthened for them welcome in repose   
But which they open as a chance
But made it be perfectly their allowance   
All which they antagonise as once for all   
Kindly have it joined as they mind

Gertrude Stein, Stanza I from Stanzas in Meditation and Other Poems (Los Angeles: Sun and Moon Press, 1994). Reprinted with the permission of Mr. Stanford Gann Jr., Levin & Gann, P.A., Literary Executor of the Estate of Gertrude Stein.

Source: The Yale Gertrude Stein (Yale University Press, 1980)

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Poet Gertrude Stein 1874–1946


Subjects Arts & Sciences, Language & Linguistics

Poetic Terms Free Verse

 Gertrude  Stein


From the time she moved to France in 1903 until her death in Neuilly-sur-Seine in 1946, American writer Gertrude Stein was a central figure in the Parisian art world. An advocate of the avant garde, Stein helped shape an artistic movement that demanded a novel form of expression and a conscious break with the past. The salon at 27 rue de Fleurus that she shared with Alice B. Toklas, her lifelong companion and secretary, became a . . .

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SUBJECT Arts & Sciences, Language & Linguistics


Poetic Terms Free Verse

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Originally appeared in Poetry magazine.

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