Wallace Stevens

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

Valley Candle - Poem by Wallace Stevens

My candle burned alone in an immense valley.
Beams of the huge night converged upon it,
Until the wind blew.
The beams of the huge night
Converged upon its image,
Until the wind blew.

Comments about Valley Candle by Wallace Stevens

  • (4/23/2013 9:51:00 AM)

    this poem doesn't stand for a candle at all. the candle is just metaphoric. this poem stand for death. death is dark, cold, and depressing. that's where the reference of night comes into play. the wind stands for death itself. first death come apon and gets rid of the light of life and it becomes dark. then death comes back around when the body is buried in the ground. this is stevens thoughts of death (Report)Reply

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  • (6/27/2009 4:18:00 PM)

    So perhaps mortality requires two deaths: one's candle is first extinguished, and then one's image. Each is 'converged upon' by 'beams of the huge night.' There is power in those beams, created in part by the oxymoron 'beams of night' instead of 'beams of light.' As the sun beats down, so the night does as well. How can anyone battle such a prospect? We are weakened by the beams of night and then extinguished by an ordinary wind.

    I might add that this is not a matter of a single candle conquering darkness. Quite the opposite. The beams of the huge night 'converge.' They are not dispelled. Neither the candle, nor its image, stands a chance against the forces of night...and the wind.

    The question that Stevens leaves for the reader is whether and to what extent the beams of night must converge upon something after the image of the candle has been extinguished. Does anything remain? I suspect Stevens would say no, while still allowing for the possibility. Is it a fictive possibility? Is it something that will 'suffice? '


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Read poems about / on: wind, alone, night

Poem Submitted: Friday, January 3, 2003

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