Homage to Wallace Stevens

By R. S. Thomas 

Homage to Wallace StevensI turn now

not to the Bible

but to Wallace Stevens.

Insured against

everything but the muse

what has the word-wizard

to say? His adjectives

are the wand he waves

so language gets up

and dances under

a fastidious moon.

We walk a void world,

he implies for which

in the absence of imagination,

there is no hope. Verbal bank-clerk,

acrobat walking a rhythmic tight-rope,

trapeze artist of the language

his was a kind of double-entry

poetics. He kept two columns

of thought going, balancing meaning

against his finances. His poetry

was his church and in it

curious marriages were conducted.

He burned his metaphors like incense,

so his syntax was as high

as his religion.

Blessings, Stevens;

I stand with my back to grammar

at an altar you never aspired

to, celebrating the sacrament

of the imagination whose high-priest

notwithstanding you are.


1 Comment

Filed under Poem

One response to “Homage to Wallace Stevens

  1. Bill Stuart

    Gad Bruce Here I am catching up on your blogs.
    R Thomas full marks for this one. Not that he cares up there In heaven with his happy wife no longer having to wash clothes in a tub and put up with the cold.

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