The Place of the Solitaires

July 10, 2007 at 7:43 pm 2 comments

Wallace Stevens

Listen (to hoon read)

Let the place of the solitaires
Be a place of perpetual undulation.

Whether it be in mid-sea
On the dark, green water-wheel,
Or on the beaches,
There must be no cessation
Of motion, or of the noise of motion,
The renewal of noise
And manifold continuation;

And, most, of the motion of thought
And its restless iteration,

In the place of the solitaires,
Which is to be a place of perpetual undulation.

Hoon adds,

A Speculative Analysis

The poet goes to the seashore
and sees there a man playing solitaire with a deck of cards
on the beach, and is struck by the similarity between the man’s game,
its ceaseless yet always varying repetition, and the action, motion, of
the sea itself. More though, the analogy is between the spirit behind
the game and the sea, that spirit being the mind.
And so he writes a poem about the nature of the human mind. It is a
series of mock edicts or decrees declaring that the mind is meant to be
as restless, even repetitious, as the sea, and that we are most
conscious of this mental restlessness when we are alone.
And so we are left to wonder: Is this entertainment? to the mind?
for it to see itself reflected in the vast mindless and unending
plungings of the sea?
Well, is it?

(The washing machine is, of course, yet another restless metaphor.)



Entry filed under: Black Mamba, English, Hoon (, Wallace Stevens.

Tea at the Palaz of Hoon The House Was Quiet and the World Was Calm

2 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Cheshire Cat  |  July 11, 2007 at 6:40 am

    Is it going to be Stevens daily? That would make me very happy… I hope we’ll get “Sunday Morning” and “The Idea of Order at Key West” at some point.

  • 2. blackmamba  |  July 11, 2007 at 8:46 pm

    Cat: One more coming up tonight. And more in a bit… adding Idea of Order and Sunday Morning to the list.


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