How to Live. What to Do.

One of my favorite (though perhaps not the best) Wallace Stevens poems. Right up there with Anecdote of the Jar.

How to Live. What to Do.

Last evening the moon rose above this rock
Impure upon a world unpurged.
The man and his companion stopped
To rest before the heroic height.

Coldly the wind fell upon them
In many majesties of sound:
They that had left the flame-freaked sun
To seek a sun of fuller fire.

Instead there was this tufted rock
Massively rising high and bare
Beyond all trees, the ridges thrown
Like giant arms among the clouds.

There was neither voice nor crested image,
No chorister, nor priest. There was
Only the great height of the rock
And the two of them standing still to rest.

There was the cold wind and the sound
It made, away from the muck of the land
That they had left, heroic sound
Joyous and jubilant and sure.

Could be Zen, a joke, a wonderful Zen joke, or something else altogether. Text borrowed from Emperor of Ice-Cream Cakes.


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