Verse > Anthologies > Harriet Monroe, ed. > Poetry: A Magazine of Verse, 1912–22
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Harriet Monroe, ed. (1860–1936).  Poetry: A Magazine of Verse.  1912–22.
 
Homunculus et la Belle Etoile
By Wallace Stevens
 
From “Pecksniffiana”

IN the sea, Biscayne, there prinks
The young emerald, evening star—
Good light for drunkards, poets, widows,
And ladies soon to be married.
 
By this light the salty fishes        5
Arch in the sea like tree-branches,
Going in many directions
Up and down.
 
This light conducts
The thoughts of drunkards, the feelings        10
Of widows and trembling ladies,
The movements of fishes.
 
How pleasant an existence it is
That this emerald charms philosophers,
Until they become thoughtlessly willing        15
To bathe their hearts in later moonlight,
 
Knowing that they can bring back thought
In the night that is still to be silent,
Reflecting this thing and that,
Before they sleep.        20
 
It is better that, as scholars,
They should think hard in the dark cuffs
Of voluminous cloaks,
And shave their heads and bodies.
 
It might well be that their mistress        25
Is no gaunt fugitive phantom.
She might, after all, be a wanton,
Abundantly beautiful, eager.
 
Fecund,
From whose being by starlight, on sea-coast,        30
The innermost good of their seeking
Might come in the simplest of speech.
 
It is a good light, then, for those
That know the ultimate Plato,
Tranquillizing with this jewel        35
The torments of confusion.
 
 
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