Wallace Stevens


The letters of the alphabet
Are representations of parts of the head.
Ears are qs
Ls are the edges of the teeth
Ms are the wrinkled skin between the eyes
In frowns.
The nostrils and the bridge of the nose
Are ps or bs.
The mouth is an o.
There are letters in the hair.
Worms frown, are full of mouths,
Bite, twitch their ears...
The maker of the alphabet
Had a headache.

I have lived so long with the rhetoricians
That when I see a pine tree
Broken by lightening
Or hear a crapulous crow
In dead boughs,
In April
These are too ready
To despise me
It is for this the good lord
Gave the rooster his lustre
And made sprats pink
Who can doubt that Confucius
Thought well of streets
In the spring-time
It is for this the rhetoricians
Wear long black equali
When they are abroad.

The night wind of August
Is like an old mother to me.
It comforts me.
I rest in it,
As one would rest,
If one could,
Once again --
It moves about, quietly
And attentively.
Its old hands touch me.
Its breath touches me.
But sometimes its breath is a little cold,
Just a little,
And I know,
That it is only the night wind.

spoken = Doug Ross