Wallace Stevens

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

Two Figures In Dense Violet Light - Poem by Wallace Stevens

I had as lief be embraced by the portier of the hotel
As to get no more from the moonlight
Than your moist hand.

Be the voice of the night and Florida in my ear.
Use dasky words and dusky images.
Darken your speech.

Speak, even, as if I did not hear you speaking,
But spoke for you perfectly in my thoughts,
Conceiving words,

As the night conceives the sea-sound in silence,
And out of the droning sibilants makes
A serenade.

Say, puerile, that the buzzards crouch on the ridge-pole
and sleep with one eye watching the stars fall
Beyond Key West.

Say that the palms are clear in the total blue.
Are clear and are obscure; that it is night;
That the moon shines.

Comments about Two Figures In Dense Violet Light by Wallace Stevens

  • (3/6/2018 8:25:00 AM)

    Thank you, Gary, for telling them the errors. I was just about to do that. (Report) Reply

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  • (10/8/2009 10:48:00 PM)

    This is one of Stevens’ most accessible poems. However, I’m afraid this version is riddled with typographical errors. Here are those of which I am aware:

    porter at the hotel (not “portier of” the hotel)
    Be the voice of night (not “the” night)
    Use dusky words (not dasky words)
    sea-sounds (plural, not sea-sound)
    And out of their droning (not “the” droning)
    Capitalize “And” in the fourteenth line
    Below Key West (not “Beyond” Key West)
    “clear in a total blue, ” (not clear in “the” total blue, and change the period to a comma)
    (Report) Reply

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Read poems about / on: silence, moon, sleep, night, sea, light, star

Poem Submitted: Friday, January 3, 2003

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