Only the luckiest people wake up with poetry running through their minds

Some guy fishing at Key West. I'd tell you more, but the time share site I got this photo from didn't provide details about the photo. But if you're interested in affordable vacationing...

In trying to choose a poem for today, I ran across this blog post from The Guardian’s web site about the 10 best American poems. Since I happen to agree with any list that includes Wallace Stevens, I thought I’d post one of these alleged top tens, “The Idea of Order at Key West.” (Wallace Stevens makes me feel less insecure as a writer because he was an insurance salesman as well as a poet. He had a very successful law and business career. It  makes me feel like being a mom and a novelist is not so impossible.) Anyway, this poem is a long one, but not so hard to read as some other long ones I’ve posted. It’s a little like a fairy tale, almost. It’s got a little bit of magic in it. Enjoy!

Don’t forget to answer the question of the day in the comments section below for an entry in my National Poetry Month contest! Today’s question: Where’s your favorite place, and why?

The Idea of Order at Key West
by Wallace Stevens

She sang beyond the genius of the sea.
The water never formed to mind or voice,
Like a body wholly body, fluttering
Its empty sleeves; and yet its mimic motion
Made constant cry, caused constantly a cry,
That was not ours although we understood,
Inhuman, of the veritable ocean.

The sea was not a mask. No more was she.
The song and water were not medleyed sound
Even if what she sang was what she heard,
Since what she sang was uttered word by word.
It may be that in all her phrases stirred
The grinding water and the gasping wind;
But it was she and not the sea we heard.

For she was the maker of the song she sang.
The ever-hooded, tragic-gestured sea
Was merely a place by which she walked to sing.
Whose spirit is this? we said, because we knew
It was the spirit that we sought and knew
That we should ask this often as she sang.
If it was only the dark voice of the sea
That rose, or even colored by many waves;
If it was only the outer voice of sky
And cloud, of the sunken coral water-walled,
However clear, it would have been deep air,
The heaving speech of air, a summer sound
Repeated in a summer without end
And sound alone. But it was more than that,
More even than her voice, and ours, among
The meaningless plungings of water and the wind,
Theatrical distances, bronze shadows heaped
On high horizons, mountainous atmospheres
Of sky and sea.

It was her voice that made
The sky acutest at its vanishing.
She measured to the hour its solitude.
She was the single artificer of the world
In which she sang. And when she sang, the sea,
Whatever self it had, became the self
That was her song, for she was the maker. Then we,
As we beheld her striding there alone,
Knew that there never was a world for her
Except the one she sang and, singing, made.

Ramon Fernandez, tell me, if you know,
Why, when the singing ended and we turned
Toward the town, tell why the glassy lights,
The lights in the fishing boats at anchor there,
As the night descended, tilting in the air,
Mastered the night and portioned out the sea,
Fixing emblazoned zones and fiery poles,
Arranging, deepening, enchanting night.

Oh! Blessed rage for order, pale Ramon,
The maker’s rage to order words of the sea,
Words of the fragrant portals, dimly-starred,
And of ourselves and of our origins,
In ghostlier demarcations, keener sounds.

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