(Poem #373) The Man Whose Pharynx Was Bad
The time of year has grown indifferent. Mildew of summer and the deepening snow Are both alike in the routine I know: I am too dumbly in my being pent. The wind attendant on the solstices Blows on the shutters of the metropoles, Stirring no poet in his sleep, and tolls The grand ideas of the villages. The malady of the quotidian . . . Perhaps if summer ever came to rest And lengthened, deepened, comforted, caressed Through days like oceans in obsidian Horizons, full of night's midsummer blaze; Perhaps, if winter once could penetrate Through all its purples to the final slate, Persisting bleakly in an icy haze; One might in turn become less diffident, Out of such mildew plucking neater mould And spouting new orations of the cold. One might. One might. But time will not relent.
(from Harmonium, 1923) An unusually 'hard' poem - I had to read it thrice just to see what it was talking about. However, it's a rewarding effort, if only to see the seemingly unrelated fragments and the roundabout construction finally crystallise into a coherent whole. Of course, there are other rewards - images like 'days like oceans in obsidian' and 'night's midsummer blaze', phrases like 'the malady of the quotidian' spring to eye, and on the whole the piece has a nice flow to it. However, none of the above are the reason I ran the poem. Why did I? Well, how could I *not* run a poem titled 'The Man Whose Pharynx Was Bad?' <g> Truly, one of the nicest titles I've seen, especially given the lack of connection to the poem. Glossary: pharynx: The cavity, with its enclosing muscles and mucous membrane, situated behind and communicating with the nose, mouth, and larynx, and continuous below with the oesophagus; forming a passage from the mouth for the food and drink, and from the nasal passages for the breath. --OED So now you know. Links: For a biography, see the previous Stevens poem we've run, poem #154 m.