“The House Was Quiet and The World Was Calm”

waskey good news oil painting

Jason Waskey: “Quiet Night”

 

Kind of a lazy man’s blog entry, but this Wallace Stevens poem always comes to mind for me when school lets out for the summer. Maybe it works for you too.

 

The House Was Quiet and the World Was Calm

 

The house was quiet and the world was calm.
The reader became the book; and summer night

Was like the conscious being of the book.
The house was quiet and the world was calm.

The words were spoken as if there was no book,
Except that the reader leaned above the page,

Wanted to lean, wanted much to be
The scholar to whom his book is true, to whom

The summer night is like a perfection of thought.
The house was quiet because it had to be.

The quiet was part of the meaning, part of the mind:
The access of perfection to the page.

And the world was calm. The truth in a calm world,
In which there is no other meaning, itself

Is calm, itself is summer and night, itself
Is the reader leaning late and reading there.

– Wallace Stevens

Cross-posted from English Companion Ning

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2 Responses to “The House Was Quiet and The World Was Calm”

  1. mardie says:

    I love this poem, Gary. Thanks for reminding me of the poem, of the mood that Stevens so eloquently captures.

  2. Ken C. says:

    We’ve used this in 8th grade. To me, its sounds equate to relaxation — almost to the point of a quiet, agreeable hypnosis.

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