Saturday, March 8, 2008

Notions: Matisse, a Parrot, and the Fate of Wallace Stevens

Matisse has fallen asleep
in a puddle of pastels.

He awakens at a vast red table
of his own making.

A bowl of blue lemons
becomes the center

and also a flower
imported from a province

of green belief arranges
herself as another

center—head and torso
filled with blossoms

requiring no specific pigment
or love.

So the parrot who rouses
the prodigal to return

disappears in the medieval
sun—splash of several

feathers & losses—and carries
away Wallace Stevens

dressed in his best white suit
of cotton, with orchids

pressed in his pockets. Beauty,
they sing, in a tongue

only the truest believers will know.


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