Wednesday, July 6,2022
"He breathed its oxygen,
Even when the book lay turned in the dust..."
--Wallace Stevens, from "The Poem That Took The Place Of A Mountain"
"He wanted the river to go on flowing the same way,
To keep on flowing. He wanted to walk beside it... "
--Wallace Stevens, from "This Solitude of Cataracts"
Wallace Stevens had his own Walden Pond—
he lived there, apart, in his later years, in poems,
the one that took the place of a mountain, for example,
wherein he searched for the right outlook where
he could lay down, by himself, in grassy solitude,
and look down on the sea from his high, solitary home.
It had been necessary to find his own place, a direction,
separate, apart; and he found it. He found Walden again,
in falling water near mountains, in a solitude of cataracts,
in a river he keenly felt, the one that never flowed twice
in the same direction through his mind and imagination.
He needed to find places like that, ideal places to go to,
not to his ordinary life on Westerly Terrace, nor downtown
to the offices of The Hartford where he wrote surety contracts—
he discovered Walden in the fields, forests and mountains
that populated his mind, the mind of his poems—he sauntered
about in them, took his time, didn't think twice. His plight
proved the same as Thoreau's, as that of nearly all Americans—
live a life of quiet... He had choices to make; and made them;
he wanted things, things to touch, and he happily touched them.
It was money he needed to make to enjoy them; he made it.
That was the choice. The compromise. Then he was old,
and there had been no more trips to Key West since 1940,
when he had argued with Frost a final time. Yes, final time,
Stevens watched it desperately from his porch at Walden
in 1955 as the falling waters ponded near the Monadnocks,
the southern New Hampshire mountains Thoreau knew well.
This poem has not been translated into any other language yet.I would like to translate this poem