At the End of the Mind

PalmThere’s no doubt American poet Wallace Stevens was a searcher. He wrote surrealist, transcendental poems such as “Of Mere Being:”

The palm at the end of the mind,
Beyond the last thought, rises
In the bronze distance.

A gold-feathered bird
Sings in the palm, without human meaning,
Without human feeling, a foreign song.

You know then that it is not the reason
That makes us happy or unhappy.
The bird sings. Its feathers shine.

The palm stands on the edge of space.
The wind moves slowly in the branches.
The bird’s fire-fangled feathers dangle down.

He was baptized as a Catholic four months before his death. And about a year after writing the poem above. But in one of his posthumous anthologies, he writes: “After one has abandoned a belief in god, poetry is that essence which takes its place as life’s redemption.”

His works are chock full of interesting tidbits, such as this one:

We say God and the imagination are one . . .
How high that highest candle lights the dark.
Out of this same light, out of the central mind
We make a dwelling in the evening air,
In which being there together is enough.

He’s definitely worth closer study….

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