Wednesday, September 7, 2011

"Now It Is September And The Web Is Woven. The Web Is Woven And You Have To Wear It."

Today was beautiful:  warm and bright and cloudless cornflower blue.  But the wind is now of autumn.  And the yellow and angled light is of autumn. Something is incipient.

Recently, I gently questioned R. S. Thomas's assertion that Wallace Stevens's "one season was late fall."  However, I did acknowledge that some of my favorite poems by Stevens are set in autumn.  Here is one that is set in early fall.  Today's weather -- "what is there here but weather, what spirit/Have I except it comes from the sun?" -- brought it to mind.

                            The Dwarf

Now it is September and the web is woven.
The web is woven and you have to wear it.

The winter is made and you have to bear it,
The winter web, the winter woven, wind and wind,

For all the thoughts of summer that go with it
In the mind, pupa of straw, moppet of rags.

It is the mind that is woven, the mind that was jerked
And tufted in straggling thunder and shattered sun.

It is all that you are, the final dwarf of you,
That is woven and woven and waiting to be worn,

Neither as mask nor as garment but as a being,
Torn from insipid summer, for the mirror of cold,

Sitting beside your lamp, there citron to nibble
And coffee dribble . . . Frost is in the stubble.

Wallace Stevens, Parts of a World (1942).

                                           John Nash, "Autumn" (1933)

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