HarmoniumSometimes all I need to have is a moment to sit and write and great things happen. Some things I don’t even anticipate happening can miraculously happen when I’m training, or trying to train, my brain on the act of creation. Today was no different. In my fruitless effort to write a story I managed to write a blog post and, as an added bonus, discovered a gem of a poem by my favorite American poet, Wallace Stevens! That’s a win, as far as I’m concerned. But I like poetry, and I really like Stevens, so there you have it.

The poem is called “A Rabbit as King of the Ghosts,” and I really like how the poem adopts the mindset of the rabbit. The metaphorical qualities of the poem are great, too, considering I have been wrangling with the notion of getting older (see the last post). The day/night transition works, as does the concept of the consciousness being wholly centered on the experience of the temporal moment. It’s all very good, a really great read.

I’ve included a video of Bill Murray reading the poem, too, not because he does an especially good job with it, but because he’s Bill Murray (sounds like Zombieland, no?).


A Rabbit as King of the Ghosts

The difficulty to think at the end of day,
When the shapeless shadow covers the sun
And nothing is left except light on your fur—

There was the cat slopping its milk all day,
Fat cat, red tongue, green mind, white milk
And August the most peaceful month.

To be, in the grass, in the peacefullest time,
Without that monument of cat,
The cat forgotten in the moon;

And to feel that the light is a rabbit-light,
In which everything is meant for you
And nothing need be explained;

Then there is nothing to think of. It comes of itself;
And east rushes west and west rushes down,
No matter. The grass is full

And full of yourself. The trees around are for you,
The whole of the wideness of night is for you,
A self that touches all edges,

You become a self that fills the four corners of night.
The red cat hides away in the fur-light
And there you are humped high, humped up,

You are humped higher and higher, black as stone—
You sit with your head like a carving in space
And the little green cat is a bug in the grass.

(from “Harmonium,” 1923)


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