Picking up from last week’s poem by James Wright that was written in honor of his friend Robert Bly, this week I’m posting a work by Bly himself that pays homage to another poet, Wallace Stevens. The simple imagery of Bly’s poems conjure the verses of old Chinese masters, and echo the words of Wallace Stevens that, “A poem should almost successfully escape the intellect.” This poem set in the first snowfall of the year and quite deliberately mirrors some of Stevens’ own imagery, according to Bly.
Thinking of Wallace Stevens on the First Snowy Day of December
This new snow seems to speak of virgins
With frail clothes made of gold,
Just as the old snow shall whisper
Of concierges in France.
The new dawn sings of beaches
Dazzling as sugar and clean as the clouds of Greece,
Just as the exhausted dusk shall sing
Of the waves on the western shore.
This new strength whispers of the darkness of death,
Of the frail skiff lost in the giant cave,
Just as in the boat nearing death you sang
Of feathers and white snow.
From: Collected Poems