And through the eye equates ten thousand deaths
With a single well-tempered apricot, or say,
An egg-plant of good air.
- Extracts from Addresses to the Academy of Fine Ideas, Wallace Stevens
Stevens was always trying to get beyond the artificial to the entirety and immediacy of things - and yet his medium was words. How can these invented containers evoke the intimacy of real life? The poet is a trickster or magician - by recombining words in unexpected ways, his hope is to conjure a world out of thin air by sheer startlement.
Here a tower shining bright
Once stood gleaming in the night
Where now there's just the rubble
In the hole...
- White City, Shane MacGowan