On more than one occasion, I have expressed a preference for the more direct (relatively so), more emotional later poetry of Wallace Stevens over his more precious, more abstract earlier poetry. "July Mountain," which appeared in my most recent post, was one of the last poems written by Stevens. A poem from Stevens's earlier years provides, I think, a good companion piece (or perhaps a bookend?) to "July Mountain."
Anecdote of the Jar
I placed a jar in Tennessee,
And round it was, upon a hill.
It made the slovenly wilderness
Surround that hill.
The wilderness rose up to it,
And sprawled around, no longer wild.
The jar was round upon the ground
And tall and of a port in air.
It took dominion everywhere.
The jar was gray and bare.
It did not give of bird or bush,
Like nothing else in Tennessee.
Wallace Stevens, Harmonium (1923).
And what, exactly, is that all about? Professors and Ph.D. candidates -- enthusiastic members of the Wallace Stevens explication industry in the United States -- have had a field day with that question, of course. But their guesses are as good as yours or mine. We should also remember what Mr. Stevens (down-to-earth lawyer and insurance company executive) said: "I have the greatest dislike for explanations. As soon as people are perfectly sure of a poem they are just as likely as not to have no further interest in it; it loses whatever potency it had." (Letter to Ronald Lane Latimer, November 15, 1935.)
But T. S. Eliot may provide an oblique approach: "the still point of the turning world." As may Robert Frost: "a momentary stay against confusion." As may Edward Thomas: "And for that minute a blackbird sang/Close by, and round him, mistier,/Farther and farther, all the birds/Of Oxfordshire and Gloucestershire." And, finally, as may Philip Larkin: "Rather than words comes the thought of high windows:/The sun-comprehending glass,/And beyond it, the deep blue air, that shows/Nothing, and is nowhere, and is endless."