Wallace Stevens

(October 2, 1879 – August 2, 1955 / Pennsylvania / United States)

The House Was Quiet And The World Was Calm - Poem by Wallace Stevens

The house was quiet and the world was calm.
The reader became the book; and summer night

Was like the conscious being of the book.
The house was quiet and the world was calm.

The words were spoken as if there was no book,
Except that the reader leaned above the page,

Wanted to lean, wanted much to be
The scholar to whom his book is true, to whom

The summer night is like a perfection of thought.
The house was quiet because it had to be.

The quiet was part of the meaning, part of the mind:
The access of perfection to the page.

And the world was calm. The truth in a calm world,
In which there is no other meaning, itself

Is calm, itself is summer and night, itself
Is the reader leaning late and reading there.


Comments about The House Was Quiet And The World Was Calm by Wallace Stevens

  • Susan Williams Susan Williams (2/29/2016 3:24:00 PM)

    Enjoyed so much the comments by the people below- this poem brought out a lot of insight. I cannot add a thing to their brilliant thoughts about the relationships being portrayed by this beauty. I do like how he gave this poem its calm soothing atmosphere. For one thing, he repeated the word calm six times. Only a great poet can get by with that! But another way he created that calm was by writing longer lines and that has a lulling effect that short staccato lines do not create. Then there is the rhythm of words like in these: - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
    - - - - - - - - - - - - - - The house was quiet and the world was calm.
    The reader became the book; and summer night

    Was like the conscious being of the book.
    The house was quiet and the world was calm. (Report) Reply

    12 person liked.
    0 person did not like.
  • Moira Cameron Moira Cameron (2/29/2016 12:22:00 PM)

    Wow, I can certainly relate to this one. I have never read his poetry before, but I will surely read more. So appropriate, given the subject matter of this poem, that he was from a town called Reading! (Report) Reply

  • Savita Tyagi (2/29/2016 8:54:00 AM)

    Beautiful poem. Such a pleasure to read and immerse in its depth of thought. Beauty and truth coexist here. (Report) Reply

  • Edward Kofi Louis Edward Kofi Louis (2/29/2016 5:45:00 AM)

    The conscience being of the book! The truth is the key. Nice piece of work. (Report) Reply

  • Barry Middleton Barry Middleton (2/29/2016 5:23:00 AM)

    Another excellent Wallace Stevens commentary on how the mind creates our reality. Here the reader becomes the book as the book becomes a being and part of the night with all things unified within the mind and imagination. I love Stevens' poetry. (Report) Reply

    Kim Barney (2/29/2016 7:57:00 AM)

    Well said, Barry.

  • Rajnish Manga Rajnish Manga (2/29/2016 1:21:00 AM)

    Nice portrayal of a relationship between a reader and the book, a book and the atmosphere in which reading takes place. The subject is awesomely unique and the narrative captivating.
    The quiet was part of the meaning, part of the mind:
    The access of perfection to the page. (Report) Reply

  • Mohammed Asim Nehal Mohammed Asim Nehal (2/29/2016 12:48:00 AM)

    Nicc couplets. It soothes the mood and the surrounding after reading this fine poem. (Report) Reply

  • Gary Witt (12/10/2009 9:53:00 PM)

    I like the relationship between this poem and 'The Reader, ' also by Stevens:


    The Reader

    All night I sat reading a book,
    Sat reading as if in a book
    Of somber pages.

    It was autumn and falling stars
    Covered the shriveled forms
    Crouched in the moonlight.

    No lamp was burning as I read,
    A voice was mumbling, “Everything
    Falls back to coldness,

    Even the musky muscadines,
    The melons, the vermilion pears
    Of the leafless garden.”

    The somber pages bore no print
    Except the trace of burning stars
    In the frosty heaven.

    Wallace Stevens (Report) Reply

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Read poems about / on: summer, house, truth, world, night



Poem Submitted: Monday, January 13, 2003



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