Cherished like the thought of heaven

You’d be surprised how difficult it was to find a poem celebrating the passing of the fiscal year. I guess it’s not something that captures the poetic imagination. I don’t usually run competitions on this blog, but there’s tuppence ha’penny for anyone who can write a convincing ode to the beginning of a new financial year. “O! Tis time for taxes their return to make…” it might begin.

I think it was Robert Graves who said “There’s no money in poetry; but neither is there poetry in money.” Or something like that. Wallace Stevens, on the other hand, said money is a kind of poetry. I looked in the works of both for today’s poem, and Stevens won the day with ‘What is Divinity’. It’s not about money – just a gorgeous little elegy for this heaven-haunted earth. Happy new year.

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 measures destined for her soul.

Things as they are

A bit of a departure today.  Here's a very short extract from a longish poem by Wallace Stevens based on a painting by Pablo Picasso.  It's called “The Man with the Blue Guitar.” 

You can read more of the poem here, but I think this excerpt contains an extraordinarily profound and succinct definition of art. 

They said,

“You have a blue guitar,

You do not play things as they are.”

      The man replied,

      “Things as they are

      Are changed upon the blue guitar.”