Guest poem submitted by Cristina Gazzieri:
(Poem #459) Two Figures in Dense Violet Light
I had as lief be embraced by the portier of the hotel As to get no more from the moonlight Than your moist hand. Be the voice of the night and Florida in my ear. Use dasky words and dusky images. Darken your speech. Speak, even, as if I did not hear you speaking, But spoke for you perfectly in my thoughts, Conceiving words, As the night conceives the sea-sound in silence, And out of the droning sibilants makes A serenade. Say, puerile, that the buzzards crouch on the ridge-pole and sleep with one eye watching the stars fall Beyond Key West. Say that the palms are clear in the total blue. Are clear and are obscure; that it is night; That the moon shines.
As in a series of other poems by Stevens, this work is based on the suggestion of a tangle of visual and auditory images. The main evocative picture is that of a Florida night with its palms outlined by moonlight in a paradoxical silence of sea sounds where a few more natural elements (the buzzards, falling stars) contribute to the exotic, wild beauty of the scene. At least two themes develop from this central scene. The first a theme of seduction, in which the poet laments the detached attitude of his woman and encourages her to speak a truer language; true to herself, even if not necessarily clearer, but personal, creative, like a "serenade". The second theme - poetic creation - emerges from the references to linguistic conception "Conceiving words" and to the lyrical song, the "serenade". As often happens with Stevens the almost unique object of his poetry seems to be poetry itself. He wrote: "Poetry becomes the subject itself of the poem" and then again "the poem is the cry of the occasion/ Part of the res itself and not about it". The poetry he advocates is, like his own, "obscure" but "clear", sel referential and pleasantly dusky, apparently puerile in its primary references, resounding with natural elements. I particularly like the ironic, almost comic incipit, so different in tone from the intensity of the rest of the poem. Cristina.