The River of Rivers in Connecticut
by Wallace Stevens
There is a great river this side of Stygia
Before one comes to the first black cataracts
And trees that lack the intelligence of trees.
In that river, far this side of Stygia,
The mere flowing of the water is a gayety,
Flashing and flashing in the sun. On its banks,
No shadow walks. The river is fateful,
Like the last one. But there is no ferryman.
He could not bend against its propelling force.
It is not to be seen beneath the appearances
That tell of it. The steeple at Farmington
Stands glistening and Haddam shines and sways.
It is the third commonness with light and air,
A curriculum, a vigor, a local abstraction . . .
Call it, one more, a river, an unnamed flowing,
Space-filled, reflecting the seasons, the folk-lore
Of each of the senses; call it, again and again,
The river that flows nowhere, like a sea.
–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