The line "He likes the half-hid, the half-heard, the half-lit" in A. S. J. Tessimond's "Portrait of a Romantic" got me to thinking of a poem by Wallace Stevens. Given his belief that Imagination is the source of a well-lived life, Stevens certainly has a Romantic side. Although the ostensible subject of the following poem is "metaphor," the Romantic preoccupations with Imagination, transience, and mortality are present as well.
The Motive for Metaphor
You like it under the trees in autumn,
Because everything is half dead.
The wind moves like a cripple among the leaves
And repeats words without meaning.
In the same way, you were happy in spring,
With the half colors of quarter-things,
The slightly brighter sky, the melting clouds,
The single bird, the obscure moon --
The obscure moon lighting an obscure world
Of things that would never be quite expressed,
Where you yourself were never quite yourself
And did not want nor have to be,
Desiring the exhilarations of changes:
The motive for metaphor, shrinking from
The weight of primary noon,
The A B C of being,
The ruddy temper, the hammer
Of red and blue, the hard sound --
Steel against intimation -- the sharp flash,
The vital, arrogant, fatal, dominant X.
Wallace Stevens, Transport to Summer (1947).
I need to correct myself: the subject of the poem is not "metaphor"; rather, the subject is "the motive for metaphor." It is the activity that is of crucial importance in our lives. In the titles of a few of his poems, Stevens makes the point better than I can. For instance: "Reality Is an Activity of the Most August Imagination." Or: "Anything Is Beautiful If You Say It Is." Or: "Two Illustrations That the World Is What You Make of It." (As I have noted before, simply reading the table of contents or the index of titles of one of Stevens's collections is a delight in itself.)
It all boils down to "desiring the exhilarations of changes." These changes are wrought by Imagination and Reality (the World outside) engaging in a constant back-and-forth: "Where you yourself were never quite yourself/And did not want nor have to be." Each side is empty and cold without the other. A Romantic notion.