Saturday, November 24, 2012

"A Woman Sings a Song for a Soldier Come Home" by Wallace Stevens

Though Wallace Stevens is known principally as a poet of nature and mind, this is one of the best war (actually postwar) poems that I only recently read, a poem about survival and grief of soldiers returning home.

A Woman Sings a Song for a Soldier Come Home

The wound kills that does not bleed.
It has no nurse nor kin to know
Nor kin to care.

And the man dies that does not fall.
He walks and dies.  Nothing survives
Except what was,

Under the white clouds piled and piled
Like gathered-up forgetfulness,
In sleeping air.

The clouds are over the village, the town,
To which the walker speaks
And tells of his wound,

Without a word to the people, unless
One person should come by chance,
This man or that,

So much a part of the place, so little
A person he knows, with whom he might
Talk of the weather--

And let it go, with nothing lost,
Just out of the village, at its edge,
In the quiet there.

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