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The Poem that Took the Place of a Mountain

Wallace Stevens encapsulated the poetry’s strength. It recognizes each person’s artistry and fuels the rhythm of life. Life is a creative process. Our creations anchor us as we sense our way through life with no visible path and markers. We are adventurers in an uncharted space. No one else has lived this before or afterward. In this way, life is a work of art and takes the place of a mountain. We experience it as a deeply sensual, intimate, and creative voyage that comes from deep within our souls.

There is it was, word for word,

The poem that took the place of a mountain.

He breathed its oxygen,

Even when the book lay turned in the dust of his table.

It reminded him how he had needed

A place to go to in his own direction,

How he had recomposed the pines,

Shifted the rocks and picked his way among the clouds,

For the outlook, that would be right,

Where he would be complete in an unexplained completion:

The exact rock where his inexactness

Would discover, at last, the view toward which they had edged,

Where he could lie and, gazing down at the sea,

Recognize his unique and solitary home.

About ivonprefontaine

I completed a PhD at Gonzaga University in Spokane, WA. Previously, I taught for 20 years and taught for 15 years in a wonderful hybrid school. My dissertation topic and research were how certain teachers experience becoming who teachers. In teaching and leanring, I am a boundary-crosser who understands moving ahead is a leap of faith. Teaching is a calling and vocation to express who I am as a person. Currently, I am waiting and listening to what calls me next. I am an educator, phenomenologist, scholar, boundary-crosser, published poet, author, parent, grandparent, and spouse.

19 responses »

  1. Love Steven’s. Don’t always know what he is saying but he sure says it well.>KB

    • The beauty and power of poetry is we get reflect and apply some of our meaning to the words. Leonard Cohen has refused, until recently, to explain the song/poem Suzanne. It led to considerable interpretation.

      • Umberto Eco wrote:”Authors frequently say things they are unaware of; only after they have gotten the reactions of their readers do they discover what they have said.” >KB

        Much of the time I don’t know what it is I’m pondering until it comes out in a poem and then it can go through so many permutations that I am always surprised by it. At times if I’ve written something and am not so, I think it is either a badly written piece or boring.

  2. I love this! Thanks for posting it.

  3. I’m not a big poetry buff but Stevens is one of my three faves (Emily Dickinson and ee cummings). Enjoyed this.

  4. Meine WPadresse hat sich geändert….
    HERZlichst ANDREA

  5. Love this poem!!! Sending to my son in India!!!!! He’s teaching there for 2 years!!!!

  6. Truly a poem for me…there is a familiarity. Thanks for sharing.

  7. So many reasons to love and be thankful for the poetry of Wallace Stevens. Thanks for reminding me of this one.


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