Not Ideas about the Thing but the Thing Itself
by Wallace Stevens
At the earliest ending of winter,
In March, a scrawny cry from outside
Seemed like a sound in his mind.
He knew that he heard it,
A bird’s cry, at daylight or before,
In the early March wind.
The sun was rising at six,
No longer a battered panache above snow…
It would have been outside.
It was not from the vast ventriloquism
Of sleep’s faded papier-mache…
The sun was coming from the outside.
That scrawny cry–It was
A chorister whose c preceded the choir.
It was part of the colossal sun,
Surrounded by its choral rings,
Still far away. It was like
A new knowledge of reality.
–The Collected Poems of Wallace Stevens
Last Poems of Wallace Stevens
Composer(s): Ned Rorem
Song(s): 1. Not Ideas about the Thing but the Thing Itself
2. The River of Rivers in Connecticut
3. A Child Asleep in Its Own Life
4. The Planet on the Table
5. The Dove in Spring
6. Of Mere Being
7. A Clear Day and No Memories