The Wreck of the Wallace

Another from The Wallace Variations. After too much time in the spotlight of the media, Wallace needed to get away & visited me in Jeju.

The Wreck of the Wallace

He was a salvaged man in my B&B,
the media’s attention started getting on his tits,
he needed to escape interrogation
& so took temporary residence at Inn Jeju
: he welcomed the choice
of cinnamon pancakes or cheese & sausage omelet.

Moreover, here felt outside of the world out there,
as if there was no time to grudge the motions of the day;
only a pattern of things to be done & do.
To be part of established patterns was common for him,
a comfort & distraction.

We grafted most the day, he made no quarrel with hard work.
& in our leisure time employed metaphors
to reason why the things outside of time
& reason why the world out there.

We took our makgeolli in little cups without handles
when shadow overtook the garden in the evening.
No sadness followed the plunging of the sun
behind Biyang Island;
here, outside of time, outside the world out there.

9 Comments Add yours

  1. kvennarad says:

    I like the concept that being inside can mean being ‘outside’ what is outside.

    1. i was trying to borrow Stevens use of chiasmus, this isn’t an ideal usage, but it is somewhat based in that rhetorical inversion which he uses to philosophical effect quite often, like in Chocorua to its Neighbour, the brilliant passage

      To say more than human things with human voice,
      That cannot be; to say human things with more
      Than human voice, that, also, cannot be;
      To speak humanly from the height or from the
        depth.
      Of human things, that is acutest speech.

  2. Daniel, beautiful piece with a great build up to the final verse and final phrase, running from the ordinary to the spiritual. 🙂

    1. Cheers Steve. i wouldn’t say spiritual though, i’d say philosophical, although i’d be interested to know why you think spiritual, not that your feeling is wrong, but that for me Stevens is a profoundly philosophical poet & the device is a rhetorical chiasmus, which Stevens is really a master of.

      1. Great, Daniel. I love to waffle, as you know. 🙂 Firstly, to me the words have shades of meaning that can be different for different people. For example, some might see “spiritual” as tending more towards “religious” while others might see “philosophical” as tending more towards “logical.”

        For example, the lovely fragments “when shadow overtook the garden in the evening”
        and “No sadness followed the plunging of the sun” evoked the spiritual for me, whereas the beautiful “here, outside of time, outside the world out there” shades towards philosophical.

      2. i can see how you come to those conclusions. The shadow for me evokes the psychological system of Jung, which is certainly does not shy from spiritual considerations, Jung confessing in an interview that he didn’t believe we died.
        Stevens uses the image of shadow regularly as well as the vocabulary of Jung.

  3. Tim Miller says:

    Every time you post one of these it’s hard not to take the sidebar Wally picture as him smiling at the new silliness you have him getting up to. In this one he has to be grinning at “the media’s attention started getting on his tits.” I doubt anyone at the Insurance Company ever once deigned to mention Mr. Stevens’s tits. …..but that’s neither here nor there, just a quite a moving poem actually. These are great adventures you have him on.

    1. i need to write more of them . i have a hike up Chocorua in mind. A concert from Liadoff. Meetings with the Red Wood Roamer. Dancing with dark Eulalia.
      i think the silly contrast to my idiom & Stevens world gives it a dimension of its own. The reader steps into somewhere else. i don’t know how he would have taken it but he was partial to imagining. i’m glad they MOVE you, there is supposed to be an emotive element to them.

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