Wallace Stevens

Modernism Poet

Author Bigraphy

Wallace Stevens was born on October 2, 1879 in Reading Pennsylvania. He was educated at Harvard and the New York Law School. Wallace won the Pulitzer Prize for Poetry for his Collected Poems in 1955.

Sunday Morning

Complacencies of the peignoir, and late
Coffee and oranges in a sunny chair,
And the green freedom of a cockatoo
Upon a rug mingle to dissipate
The holy hush of ancient sacrifice.
She dreams a little, and she feels the dark
Encroachment of that old catastrophe,
As a calm darkens among water-lights.
The pungent oranges and bright, green wings
Seem things in some procession of the dead,
Winding across wide water, without sound.
The day is like wide water, without sound,
Stilled for the passing of her dreaming feet
Over the seas, to silent Palestine,
Dominion of the blood and sepulchre.


Why should she give her bounty to the dead?
What is divinity if it can come
Only in silent shadows and in dreams?
Shall she not find in comforts of the sun,
In pungent fruit and bright green wings, or else
In any balm or beauty of the earth,
Things to be cherished like the thought of heaven?
Divinity must live within herself:
Passions of rain, or moods in falling snow;
Grievings in loneliness, or unsubdued
Elations when the forest blooms; gusty
Emotions on wet roads on autumn nights;
All pleasures and all pains, remembering
The bough of summer and the winter branch.
These are the measure destined for her soul.


Jove in the clouds had his inhuman birth.
No mother suckled him, no sweet land gave
Large-mannered motions to his mythy mind.
He moved among us, as a muttering king,
Magnificent, would move among his hinds,
Until our blood, commingling, virginal,
With heaven, brought such requital to desire
The very hinds discerned it, in a star.
Shall our blood fail? Or shall it come to be
The blood of paradise? And shall the earth
Seem all of paradise that we shall know?
The sky will be much friendlier then than now,
A part of labor and a part of pain,
And next in glory to enduring love,
Not this dividing and indifferent blue.


She says, 'I am content when wakened birds,
Before they fly, test the reality
Of misty fields, by their sweet questionings;
But when the birds are gone, and their warm fields
Return no more, where, then, is paradise?'
There is not any haunt of prophecy,
Nor any old chimera of the grave,
Neither the golden underground, nor isle
Melodious, where spirits gat them home,
Nor visionary south, nor cloudy palm
Remote on heaven's hill, that has endured
As April's green endures; or will endure
Like her remembrance of awakened birds,
Or her desire for June and evening, tipped
By the consummation of the swallow's wings.


She says, 'But in contentment I still feel
The need of some imperishable bliss.'
Death is the mother of beauty; hence from her,
Alone, shall come fulfillment to our dreams
And our desires. Although she strews the leaves
Of sure obliteration on our paths,
The path sick sorrow took, the many paths
Where triumph rang its brassy phrase, or love
Whispered a little out of tenderness,
She makes the willow shiver in the sun
For maidens who were wont to sit and gaze
Upon the grass, relinquished to their feet.
She causes boys to pile new plums and pears
On disregarded plate. The maidens taste
And stray impassioned in the littering leaves.


Is there no change of death in paradise?
Does ripe fruit never fall? Or do the boughs
Hang always heavy in that perfect sky,
Unchanging, yet so like our perishing earth,
With rivers like our own that seek for seas
They never find, the same receding shores
That never touch with inarticulate pang?
Why set pear upon those river-banks
Or spice the shores with odors of the plum?
Alas, that they should wear our colors there,
The silken weavings of our afternoons,
And pick the strings of our insipid lutes!
Death is the mother of beauty, mystical,
Within whose burning bosom we devise
Our earthly mothers waiting, sleeplessly.


Supple and turbulent, a ring of men
Shall chant in orgy on a summer morn
Their boisterous devotion to the sun,
Not as a god, but as a god might be,
Naked among them, like a savage source.
Their chant shall be a chant of paradise,
Out of their blood, returning to the sky;
And in their chant shall enter, voice by voice,
The windy lake wherein their lord delights,
The trees, like serafin, and echoing hills,
That choir among themselves long afterward.
They shall know well the heavenly fellowship
Of men that perish and of summer morn.
And whence they came and whither they shall go
The dew upon their feet shall manifest.


She hears, upon that water without sound,
A voice that cries, 'The tomb in Palestine
Is not the porch of spirits lingering.
It is the grave of Jesus, where he lay.'
We live in an old chaos of the sun,
Or old dependency of day and night,
Or island solitude, unsponsored, free,
Of that wide water, inescapable.
Deer walk upon our mountains, and the quail
Whistle about us their spontaneous cries;
Sweet berries ripen in the wilderness;
And, in the isolation of the sky,
At evening, casual flocks of pigeons make
Ambiguous undulations as they sink,
Downward to darkness, on extended wings.

By: Wallace Stevens

  • T- This poem is probably about a great Sunday morning and is probably about to get broken down on why this particular Sunday was so significant.
  • P- The poem is saying how a woman loved staying at home instead of going anywhere on a Sunday. The poem lets me see vibrant colors and described what she love about Sunday's back then. I saw what women back then were like and the beauty in the Earth. She saw the good in everything.
  • C- Wallace Stevens puts, "And the green freedom of a cockatoo" to give me a feeling of a cockatoo being free and majestic and roaming the Earth freely.
  • A- He has a positive and calm attitude. He's having a pretty great day it looks like.
  • S-Wallace uses lots of calm and satisfying words that kind of soothes people and flows smoothly. He has a chill and relaxed shift.
  • T- The way I saw the title didn't change for me at all. I thought it was gonna be about a great Sunday morning that was perfect and worth talking about and it was.

The Sun Will Shine Tomorrow By: Timothy B. Whalin

Always look on the bright side of life, for we know not where it leads;
Bring hope and happiness to others, trying to fulfill your friend's needs;

When I get where I'm going, I'll know where I am suppose to be,
But until that time I'll still be like a locked door without a key;
For in life we all have a final destination of where we must go;
It remains as one of life's mysteries until that time, though;

So let's all live our lives happiliy, just living without a single care:
Live without worries or troubles, misery, sadness, or despair;
We must all bow to the audience as the curtain closes one last time;
The curtain will close for us all so live each moment like its your prime;

Always look on the bright side of death, for we know not where it leads;
Think about what you beliefs before you worry about your work and deeds.

This poem is kind of similar to Wallace Stevens because it also talks about a significant day and how days can always be better. They kind of make people try to see the good in life.


Wallace Stevens is a representative of the Literary Movement because Stevens is a modernist in his emphasis on imagination. He didn't really rhyme but used real world grammar.