Incipient Cosmos


Monnara, from a new series

July Mountain

We live in a constellation
Of patches and of pitches,
Not in a single world,
In things said well in music,
On the piano and in speech,

As in the page of poetry-
Thinkers without final thoughts
In an always incipient cosmos.
The way, when we climb a mountain,

Vermont throws itself together.

–Wallace Stevens

This poem was written during Wallace Stevens‘ last year of life. It is a late-in-life poem, full of provisional feelings and a stoic acceptance of what is unknown and unknowable. Patches and pitches. An incipient cosmos. A mountain in Vermont that throws itself together for our climb. Every time I read this poem I vibrate at a different frequency.

But that seems to be the way it is for me when it comes to Stevens. It started when I was 17, about the same time I took on intimacy with a slew of artists, writers and musicians who have been part of my incipient cosmos ever since.

We all carry these one-sided intimacies that enrich us deeply. Meanwhile our gratitude goes unheard. Is there another dimension where that disconnection is rectified? The list of thank yous I’d like to deliver in person is long.

Just for the record, here’s Wallace Stevens as he has appeared over the ten years of Slow Muse:

Hiding, and Seeking

Skid Marks: inflection or Innuendo

Humility, Nature’s Way

Coming Up for Air

Jars in Tennessee, Jetties in Utah

The Long Arc

Claiming the Poem

The Thatness

Shadow Dancing

1000 Ways of Looking at a Blackbird

Wood, Water and Meaning

Other Conversations

A Mind of Winter

Fetishists and Digitizers

We are Pale Ramon

Pale Ramon

Stevens, Now and Forever

The Stevensian Sense

1 Comment

  1. Thank you, Deborah. I hadn’t seen this poem before. It’s as rich and complex as anything by Stevens, yet at the same time wonderfully simple and brief. Its acceptance of the partial and, as you say, the provisional, is nicely characteristic of your own art as well.

    With appreciation,
    Michael

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