The poetry of Wallace Stevens

for Joyce Lee

A voice is a solid thing
One hears as though it were built
Entirely of air. It is substantial

Yet it carves out song from nothing.
A voice is a real thing
We cannot move through, that lives

Separately, and uniquely sings
The air on which it moves.
A voice reminds us of our distance.

A bad voice is all voice.
The good voice glows and lights
The air on which it throws out song

And bites. electrically, the space
In which we stand to hear: it alone
Is real, and clearly moves between us.

The perfect voice is in the mind
And never sings what can be heard;
It has a life its own that brings

The sounds the mind has learned
To the moment of the keenest singing:
Its song is pure imagining.

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