Winter 1979 • Vol. I No. 1 PoetryJanuary 1, 1979 |

At the Grave of Wallace Stevens

Cedar Hill Cemetery, 21 March, 1978 "We should die except for death." And even then We do? The brightness of this early sun's One light with that other day, five decades now, When you cleared your throat and took to words again, Tossing off your metaphysical hurts like Speech impediments. The back-and-forth of light and breath wants to, By tmesis, free contracted hopes in all Uninsurable things; and let them be No cause for cause's sake or piety's, The welling spring, dumb tears, far gone in earth's Bright particulars. This simple stone, its ashen pink incised With simple lilies and your easy name, And hers, the household tokens you exchanged, Faces eastward, where Hartford's towers daydream. A cedar and a budding willow cast Shadows on the graves And grass, the last patches of fluent snow Withdrawing into mud and air; as if To say, Poverty, be changed to Poetry: Let the veil be torn away, the weather cleared For a green metathesis where lucid leaves Damask this new

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Alfred Corn's most recent book of poems is Contradictions. This October, University of Michigan Press will publish Atlas: Selected Essays, 1989-2007.

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