Sunday, April 25, 2010

Poem of the Week: "The Emperor of Ice-Cream," by Wallace Stevens

This month, I've been reading Wallace Stevens's first book of poetry, Harmonium. I am really enjoying it so far. No other poet uses language as wonderfully as Stevens does. Particularly, I'm a big fan of his use of alliteration. So, here's a poem that has my all-time favorite use of alliteration, right in the third line. Such a cool and fun line in a poem about death! Enjoy!

The Emperor of Ice-Cream, by Wallace Stevens

Call the roller of big cigars,
The muscular one, and bid him whip
In kitchen cups concupiscent curds.
Let the wenches dawdle in such dress
As they are used to wear, and let the boys
Bring flowers in last month's newspapers.
Let be be the finale of seem.
The only emperor is the emperor of ice-cream.

Take from the dresser of deal
Lacking the three glass knobs, that sheet
On which she embroidered fantails once
And spread it so as to cover her face.
If her horny feet protrude, they come
To show how cold she is, and dumb.
Let the lamp affix its beam.
The only emperor is the emperor of ice-cream.

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