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Poetry Is a Destructive Force

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That's what misery is,
Nothing to have at heart.
It is to have or nothing.

It is a thing to have,
A lion, an ox in his breast,
To feel it breathing there.

Corazón, stout dog,
Young ox, bow-legged bear,
He tastes its blood, not spit.

He is like a man
In the body of a violent beast.
Its muscles are his own . . .

The lion sleeps in the sun.
Its nose is on its paws.
It can kill a man.

Wallace Stevens, "Poetry Is a Destructive Force" from The Collected Poems of Wallace Stevens. Copyright © 1954 by Wallace Stevens and copyright renewed 1982 by Holly Stevens.  Used by permission of Alfred A. Knopf, an imprint of the Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group, a division of Random House LLC. All rights reserved.
Source: The Collected Poems of Wallace Stevens (Alfred A. Knopf, 1954)
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Poetry Is a Destructive Force

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