Not Ideas About the Thing but the Thing Itself

By Wallace Stevens 1879–1955 Wallace Stevens
At the earliest ending of winter,
In March, a scrawny cry from outside
Seemed like a sound in his mind.

He knew that he heard it,
A bird’s cry at daylight or before,
In the early March wind

The sun was rising at six,
No longer a battered panache above snow . . .
It would have been outside.

It was not from the vast ventriloquism
Of sleep’s faded papier mâché . . .
The sun was coming from outside.

That scrawny cry—it was
A chorister whose c preceded the choir.
It was part of the colossal sun,

Surrounded by its choral rings,
Still far away. It was like
A new knowledge of reality.

"Not Ideas About the Thing but the Thing Itself", from The Collected Poems of Wallace Stevens, copyright 1954 by Wallace Stevens and renewed 1982 by Holly Stevens. Used by permission of Alfred A. Knopf, a division of Random House, Inc.

Source: The Collected Poems of Wallace Stevens (Alfred A. Knopf, 1954)

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Poet Wallace Stevens 1879–1955

SCHOOL / PERIOD Modern

Subjects Nature, Spring, Music, Winter, Arts & Sciences

 Wallace  Stevens

Biography

Wallace Stevens is one of America's most respected poets. He was a master stylist, employing an extraordinary vocabulary and a rigorous precision in crafting his poems. But he was also a philosopher of aesthetics, vigorously exploring the notion of poetry as the supreme fusion of the creative imagination and objective reality. Because of the extreme technical and thematic complexity of his work, Stevens was sometimes considered . . .

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Poem Categorization

SUBJECT Nature, Spring, Music, Winter, Arts & Sciences

SCHOOL / PERIOD Modern

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Originally appeared in Poetry magazine.

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