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The House Was Quiet and The World Was Calm

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The house was quiet and the world was calm.
The reader became the book; and summer night

Was like the conscious being of the book.
The house was quiet and the world was calm.

The words were spoken as if there was no book,
Except that the reader leaned above the page,

Wanted to lean, wanted much most to be
The scholar to whom his book is true, to whom

The summer night is like a perfection of thought.
The house was quiet because it had to be.

The quiet was part of the meaning, part of the mind:
The access of perfection to the page.

And the world was calm. The truth in a calm world,
In which there is no other meaning, itself

Is calm, itself is summer and night, itself
Is the reader leaning late and reading there.

Wallace Stevens, "The House Was Quiet and the World Was Calm" 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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The House Was Quiet and The World Was Calm

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