Guest poem sent in by Janice
(Poem #1891) The Poems of our Climate
I Clear water in a brilliant bowl, Pink and white carnations. The light In the room more like a snowy air, Reflecting snow. A newly-fallen snow At the end of winter when afternoons return. Pink and white carnations - one desires So much more than that. The day itself Is simplified: a bowl of white, Cold, a cold porcelain, low and round, With nothing more than the carnations there. II Say even that this complete simplicity Stripped one of all one's torments, concealed The evilly compounded, vital I And made it fresh in a world of white, A world of clear water, brilliant-edged, Still one would want more, one would need more, More than a world of white and snowy scents. III There would still remain the never-resting mind, So that one would want to escape, come back To what had been so long composed. The imperfect is our paradise. Note that, in this bitterness, delight, Since the imperfect is so hot in us, Lies in flawed words and stubborn sounds.
I like this poem for its seemingly flawless finish....and how the last line quietly unravels it. The image of the bowl and carnations is a metaphor for the poem...beautiful, delicate, perfect. Stevens manages to take that simple picture and make it so much more...conveying that that perfection and 'world of clear water, brilliant-edged' is not enough, there still remains the 'never-resting mind' that longs for escape, since (and this has to be my favourite line!) 'The imperfect is our paradise'. It does bring connotations of the Fall in Eden (or is that just me?!). Our delight lies then in the flawed and the stubborn...perhaps the most vital characteristics of what makes us human... Janice [And speaking of climate, Bronson Stocker has suggested a theme in tribute to the recent heat wave that has been gripping large swathes of the world - an excellent idea, say I. The theme will kick off on Monday - contributions welcomed as usual. -martin]