Sunday Poems - Poems For Sunday

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Sunday Morning - Poem by Wallace Stevens


Complacencies of the peignoir, and late
Coffee and oranges in a sunny chair,
And the green freedom of a cockatoo
Upon a rug mingle to dissipate
The holy hush of ancient sacrifice.
She dreams a little, and she feels the dark
Encroachment of that old catastrophe,
As a calm darkens among water-lights.
The pungent oranges and bright, green wings
Seem things in some procession of the dead,
Winding across wide water, without sound.
The day is like wide water, without sound,
Stilled for the passing of her dreaming feet
Over the seas, to silent Palestine,
Dominion of the blood and sepulchre.


Why should she give her bounty to the dead?
What is divinity if it can come
Only in silent shadows and in dreams?
Shall she not find in comforts of the sun,
In pungent fruit and bright green wings, or else
In any balm or beauty of the earth,
Things to be cherished like the thought of heaven?
Divinity must live within herself:
Passions of rain, or moods in falling snow;
Grievings in loneliness, or unsubdued
Elations when the forest blooms; gusty
Emotions on wet roads on autumn nights;
All pleasures and all pains, remembering
The bough of summer and the winter branch.
These are the measure destined for her soul.


Jove in the clouds had his inhuman birth.
No mother suckled him, no sweet land gave
Large-mannered motions to his mythy mind.
He moved among us, as a muttering king,
Magnificent, would move among his hinds,
Until our blood, commingling, virginal,
With heaven, brought such requital to desire
The very hinds discerned it, in a star.
Shall our blood fail? Or shall it come to be
The blood of paradise? And shall the earth
Seem all of paradise that we shall know?
The sky will be much friendlier then than now,
A part of labor and a part of pain,
And next in glory to enduring love,
Not this dividing and indifferent blue.


She says, 'I am content when wakened birds,
Before they fly, test the reality
Of misty fields, by their sweet questionings;
But when the birds are gone, and their warm fields
Return no more, where, then, is paradise?'
There is not any haunt of prophecy,
Nor any old chimera of the grave,
Neither the golden underground, nor isle
Melodious, where spirits gat them home,
Nor visionary south, nor cloudy palm
Remote on heaven's hill, that has endured
As April's green endures; or will endure
Like her remembrance of awakened birds,
Or her desire for June and evening, tipped
By the consummation of the swallow's wings.


She says, 'But in contentment I still feel
The need of some imperishable bliss.'
Death is the mother of beauty; hence from her,
Alone, shall come fulfillment to our dreams
And our desires. Although she strews the leaves
Of sure obliteration on our paths,
The path sick sorrow took, the many paths
Where triumph rang its brassy phrase, or love
Whispered a little out of tenderness,
She makes the willow shiver in the sun
For maidens who were wont to sit and gaze
Upon the grass, relinquished to their feet.
She causes boys to pile new plums and pears
On disregarded plate. The maidens taste
And stray impassioned in the littering leaves.


Is there no change of death in paradise?
Does ripe fruit never fall? Or do the boughs
Hang always heavy in that perfect sky,
Unchanging, yet so like our perishing earth,
With rivers like our own that seek for seas
They never find, the same receding shores
That never touch with inarticulate pang?
Why set pear upon those river-banks
Or spice the shores with odors of the plum?
Alas, that they should wear our colors there,
The silken weavings of our afternoons,
And pick the strings of our insipid lutes!
Death is the mother of beauty, mystical,
Within whose burning bosom we devise
Our earthly mothers waiting, sleeplessly.


Supple and turbulent, a ring of men
Shall chant in orgy on a summer morn
Their boisterous devotion to the sun,
Not as a god, but as a god might be,
Naked among them, like a savage source.
Their chant shall be a chant of paradise,
Out of their blood, returning to the sky;
And in their chant shall enter, voice by voice,
The windy lake wherein their lord delights,
The trees, like serafin, and echoing hills,
That choir among themselves long afterward.
They shall know well the heavenly fellowship
Of men that perish and of summer morn.
And whence they came and whither they shall go
The dew upon their feet shall manifest.


She hears, upon that water without sound,
A voice that cries, 'The tomb in Palestine
Is not the porch of spirits lingering.
It is the grave of Jesus, where he lay.'
We live in an old chaos of the sun,
Or old dependency of day and night,
Or island solitude, unsponsored, free,
Of that wide water, inescapable.
Deer walk upon our mountains, and the quail
Whistle about us their spontaneous cries;
Sweet berries ripen in the wilderness;
And, in the isolation of the sky,
At evening, casual flocks of pigeons make
Ambiguous undulations as they sink,
Downward to darkness, on extended wings.

Comments about Sunday Morning by Wallace Stevens

  • Gold Star - 8,450 Points Luis Estable (3/1/2015 12:37:00 PM)

    This poem`s size is in the category of semi-long, but it is worth to go through it two or three times to get a as much as one can. The diction is quite poetic and the combinations of phrases do not sound simplistic.There is much depth in them.

    I can not say that I got all that this try has to offer in my three reading of it. This is the kind of poem that you read, put it away, and come back to it a few days later and you see things that you did not see before.

    Great read!

    Luis Estable (Report) Reply

    3 person liked.
    0 person did not like.
  • Gold Star - 39,822 Points Aftab Alam Khursheed (3/1/2015 1:55:00 AM)

    nice indeed with a touch..... (Report) Reply

  • Rookie - 0 Points Thomas Harris (2/5/2014 1:07:00 PM)

    This poem was included in a text of required readings for my Freshman year in college. I have been able to recite it from memory, more or less, ever since. (Report) Reply

Read all 14 comments »

Poems About Sunday

  1. 1. Sunday Morning , Wallace Stevens
  2. 2. Sunday Morning , Louis Macneice
  3. 3. A Florida Sunday. , Sidney Lanier
  4. 4. Sunday Afternoons , Erica Jong
  5. 5. The Sunday News , Dana Gioia
  6. 6. Sunday , George Herbert
  7. 7. Today Is Sunday , Nazim Hikmet
  8. 8. Fifth Sunday In Lent , John Keble
  9. 9. Written On Sunday Morning , Robert Southey
  10. 10. Sunday Up The River , James Thomson
  11. 11. (028) A Sunday Prayer For Our Lost S.. , Melvina Germain
  12. 12. Palm Sunday , John Keble
  13. 13. Fifth Sunday After Trinity , John Keble
  14. 14. Fifth Sunday After Easter - Rogation Sun.. , John Keble
  15. 15. Advent Sunday , John Keble
  16. 16. Eleventh Sunday After Trinity , John Keble
  17. 17. Sunday , siddharth singh.
  18. 18. First Sunday After Epiphany , John Keble
  19. 19. (719) Father (Sunday Prayer) , Melvina Germain
  20. 20. Fifth Sunday After Epiphany , John Keble
  21. 21. Fifteenth Sunday After Trinity , John Keble
  22. 22. First Sunday After Christmas , John Keble
  23. 23. Eight Sunday After Trinity , John Keble
  24. 24. Eighteenth Sunday After Trinity , John Keble
  25. 25. First Sunday After Easter , John Keble
  26. 26. For Easter Sunday , Anna Laetitia Barbauld
  27. 27. Third Sunday After Epiphany , John Keble
  28. 28. Second Sunday After Easter , John Keble
  29. 29. No Killing Whores On Sunday , Uriah Hamilton
  30. 30. ' ' ' ' ' ' ' ' ' ' ' Sunday Times(Tanka.. , Dónall Dempsey
  31. 31. Fourth Sunday In Lent , John Keble
  32. 32. (984) A Sunday Prayer Of Thanks , Melvina Germain
  33. 33. Second Sunday In Lent , John Keble
  34. 34. Sexegesima Sunday , John Keble
  35. 35. Sixth Sunday After Trinity , John Keble
  36. 36. Third Sunday In Lent , John Keble
  37. 37. Arise Sunday Morning , ANDREW BLAKEMORE
  38. 38. Sunday: New Guinea , Karl Shapiro
  39. 39. Septuagesima Sunday , John Keble
  40. 40. A Sunday , JOE POEWHIT
  41. 41. Sunday Dip , John Clare
  42. 42. Quinquagesima Sunday , John Keble
  43. 43. Seventeenth Sunday After Trinity , John Keble
  44. 44. (((Sunday-Sweet-Sunday))) , Theodora (Theo) Onken
  45. 45. Second Sunday After Epiphany , John Keble
  46. 46. Seventh Sunday After Trinity , John Keble
  47. 47. Twenty-Fourth Sunday After Trinity , John Keble
  48. 48. Sixteenth Sunday After Trinity , John Keble
  49. 49. Tenth Sunday After Trinity , John Keble
  50. 50. Third Sunday After Easter , John Keble
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