The Creation of Sound
by Wallace Stevens
If the poetry of X was music,
So that it came to him of its own,
Without understanding, out of the wall
Or in the ceiling, in sounds not chosen,
Or chosen quickly, in a freedom
That was their element, we should not know
That X is an obstruction, a man
Too exactly himself, and that there are words
Better without an author, without a poet,
Or having a separate author, a different poet,
An accretion from ourselves, intelligent
Beyond intelligence, an artificial man
At a distance, a secondary expositor,
A being of sound, whom one does not approach
Through any exaggeration. From him, we collect.
Tell X that speech is not dirty silence
Clarified. It is silence made dirtier.
It is more than an imitation for the ear.
He lacks this venerable complication.
His poems are not of the second part of life.
They do not make the visible a little hard
To see nor, reverberating, eke out the mind
Or peculiar horns, themselves eked out
By the spontaneous particulars of sound.
We do not say ourselves like that in poems.
We say ourselves in syllables that rise
From the floor, rising in speech we do not speak.