Friday, May 24, 2013

Wallace Stevens - Poem Repertoire vol. 1

It's recently come into my mind to start reading poetry instead of occasionally writing lousy examples of it.  In the back of my mind is building a repertoire of poems to give to my children as they grow up.  Having poetry books at hand is a great resource, but don't serve much good if I don't appropriate any of them.  And one appropriates by reading it, over and again, talking about it, maybe memorizing it.

Here's the first beginning of an initial hint of a start:

"Disillusionment of Ten O'Clock" by Wallace Stevens
The houses are haunted
By white night-gowns.
None are green,
Or purple with green rings,
Or green with yellow rings,
Or yellow with blue rings.
None of them are strange,
With socks of lace
And beaded ceintures.
People are not going
To dream of baboons and periwinkles.
Only, here and there, an old sailor,
Drunk and asleep in his boots,
Catches tigers
In red weather.

So... alliteration in the first line.  Internal rhyme in the second.  He doesn't choose random colors.  The first color becomes the second, while it's replacement follows... just a bit tediously.  The colors themselves are pretty basic, only exciting when compared to white.  And the repetition of pattern isn't exciting either, except that at least it's a pattern!  For my part, it seems pretty silly to wear socks to bed, lace or not, and to wear a beaded belt?  Uncomfortable.  Weird.

And here he makes the connection between apparel and sub-conscious thought.  The one who wears boring dream-time clothes will dream boring dreams.

But an old drunken sailor?  Wearing entirely inappropriate boots?  Well, he's likely to dream something a bit more exciting.