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Wallace Stevens Poems of Our Climate

Wallace Stevens Poems of Our Climate

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Published by: yellowpaddy on Sep 04, 2010
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Poems of our climate / Wallace Stevens

Using an allusive and ironic language in the poem, Wallace Stevens is telling us about the relation between the climate/weather which is surrounding us as well as the climate of our heart and mind and our poetic composition. The climate outside is so full of simple beautiful things which are quite at peace in their natural surroundings. Unlike that, the climate inside us, our mental and spiritual environment, is never at peace with itself. It is never satisfied with simple things. Its endless desires, demands and needs are there to torment us and make us restless and anxious all the time. Just in the way we fail to get ultimate happiness from simple beautiful things of nature, poets are not always satisfied with the words they use to express their thoughts and feelings by writing poems or musicians by using sounds. Human desire for perfection can trouble his heart all the time. But finally one has to come to terms with man’s imperfection because in his realization lies one’s final satisfaction and liberation. In the first stanza, the poet tells us that inside his room, there is bowl filled with water. The water in the gleaming bowl looks clear and some carnations (sweet-smelling white, pink or red flowers) were put inside it too. The time of the year is winter. He says that the light in the room reveals ‘a snowy air’. Winter is coming to an end and in the afternoon, he can see fresh snow outside. The whole climatic setting with the newly fallen snow and the water on bowl with beautiful flowers in it was all so exquisite and charming. Here the poet after describing the climate outside, moves inward to tell us about the climate of his psychology. He declares that human heart is such that it is not contented with such natural beauty only. It wants more than that. The poet points out that the day looks like a model of simplicity. Nothing can be more simple than the whole natural setting with a bowl made of porcelain with pink and white flowers in it. But called it man’s weakness or strength, human heart cannot find satisfaction in this simplicity. It seeks something more than this simple beauty. In the second stanza, the poet still continues with the simplicity of natural items positioned in front of his eye. He says that its simple beauty takes away all the distress and anguish of his heart and keeps his heart quite. But this moment of quietness is superficial because it fails to make him forget his self, his ‘vital I’. If it had the power to make him forget himself completely he would have felt ecstatic. But it doesn’t happen. He calls his self ‘evilly compounded’ as it is still there somewhere behind all this things and it somewhat disturbs him from experiencing the whole simplicity of the beauty. Showing his discontentment, the poet says, ‘Still one would want more, one would need more’. His ‘vital I’ demands something more than the silence of the water on the bowl, the beauty of the colourful flowers and the snowy

atmosphere. Man’s restless psychological climate is such that he fails to appreciate the simple things of life. Even if he knows how to appreciate the simple things of life, he doesn’t know how to be satisfied with them, how to be at peace with them. In the third stanza, the poet tells us that his mind is restless always moving from one thought to another, one desire to another. One may write poem and it may provide momentary getaway from one’s restlessness. But it will return to ‘what had been so long composed’. Then one will discover that what had been written is not to your satisfaction. The poet will not ever be fully pleased with his own creation. That’s why, changing his tone to that of resignation and self-understanding he proclaims optimistically, ‘the imperfect is our paradise’. There is no perfect being or thing anywhere on earth. He seems to realize that one should finally seek contentment in one’s imperfect self, in our little creations however inadequate and unsatisfactory they are. Though one may feel sad and sour about this inadequate human nature, one should seek enjoyment in this limitation ‘since the imperfect’ is ‘so hot in us’. Words and sounds cannot totally express what one feels and experiences to one’s ultimate liking and fulfillment. Still, one will keep using words and sounds for expression and communication and music, and one has to find fulfillment in drawback of our words and music. That way, one can positively come to terms with one’s imperfection and this understanding will liberate us from the torment of our limitless desires.


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