Wallace Stevens On His Way To Work Poem by David Wagoner

Wallace Stevens On His Way To Work

Rating: 3.0

He would leave early and walk slowly
     As if balancing books           
On the way to school, already expecting
To be tardy once again and heavy      
With numbers, the unfashionably rounded           
Toes of his shoes invisible beyond
The slope of his corporation. He would pause      
At his favorite fundamentally sound           
Park bench, which had been the birthplace
Of paeans and ruminations on other mornings,    
  And would turn his back to it, having gauged the distance  
 Between his knees and the edge of the hardwood
Almost invariably unoccupied     
 At this enlightened hour by the bums of nighttime          
 (For whom the owlish eye of the moon
Had been closed by daylight) , and would give himself wholly over      
Backwards and trustingly downwards          
 And be well seated there. He would remove
From his sinister jacket pocket a postcard     
 And touch it and retouch it with the point         
  Of the fountain he produced at his fingertips
And fill it with his never-before-uttered    
  Runes and obbligatos and pellucidly cryptic         
  Duets from private pageants, from broken ends
Of fandangos with the amoeba chaos chaos      
Couchant and rampant. Then he would rise        
   With an effort as heartfelt as a decision
To get out of bed on Sunday and carefully   
   Relocate his center of gravity      
     Above and beyond an imaginary axis
Between his feet and carry the good news
     Along the path and the sidewalk, well on his way  
         To readjusting the business of the earth.

Edmond Sheehy 02 January 2019

I really liked this poem. I have a quibble with diction. “Bums” to my hear sounds wrong given language in the rest of the poem.

2 0 Reply
Shah Surja 27 November 2015

Along the path and the sidewalk, well on his way To readjusting the business of the earth.

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Susan Williams 27 November 2015

I found a quote by David Wagoner that might shed some light on his poetry style: The more experience I have and the older I get, the more I seem to recognize the correlation between what a poet does and what a trained singer does. There are many connections between singing a song right and making a poem right.

23 0 Reply
Frank Avon 11 September 2014

This poem should be resubmitted, typed so that it can be read.

1 1 Reply
Lamont Palmer 26 June 2005

Very interesting poem about, arguably, the greatest poet of the 20th century.

0 0 Reply
David Wagoner

David Wagoner

Massillon, Ohio
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