Sunday, October 26, 2014

Poetry Sunday

Halloween is coming up on Friday, and I was going to post Edgar Allan Poe's classic "The Raven" as today's poem ... but then I changed my mind. I first ran across this short, complex poem by Wallace Stevens when parts of it were quoted in Stephen King's novel Salem's Lot, and I didn't fully realize how quietly unsettling it was until I finally read the whole thing ...

The Emperor of Ice-Cream
by Wallace Stevens

Call the roller of big cigars,
The muscular one, and bid him whip
In kitchen cups concupiscent curds.
Let the wenches dawdle in such dress
As they are used to wear, and let the boys
Bring flowers in last month's newspapers.
Let be be finale of seem.
The only emperor is the emperor of ice-cream.

Take from the dresser of deal,
Lacking the three glass knobs, that sheet
On which she embroidered fantails once
And spread it so as to cover her face.
If her horny feet protrude, they come
To show how cold she is, and dumb.
Let the lamp affix its beam.
The only emperor is the emperor of ice-cream.

If you want to read a detailed analysis of the poem and its meaning, there's an excellent one at the Poetry Foundation's website - you can read it here.

Happy Halloween. Go ahead and leave the lights on ...

More thoughts coming.



Grand Crapaud said...

That's an awesome poem. The explication helped somewhat.

eViL pOp TaRt said...

An interesting poem. I thought it was about a half-hearted wake in a brothel; but "Let be be finale of seem" is a statement that there is no afterlife, and that we should live ours in the here-and-now. It has a very compelling meter and rhyme. A great poem for Poetry Sunday!

Mike said...

Ice cream is heaven.

Elvis Wearing a Bra on His Head said...

Ice cream is original sin. Fortunately.