Sunday, February 12, 2012

Sunday Morning

I read The Collected Poems of Wallace Stevens over and over during college and for years afterward. I can still recite some of them from memory, and for some reason the phrase complacencies of the peignor lives very close inside my head, so close that nearly every Sunday morning I think of it. Here's the first verse of the poem Sunday Morning, and you can listen to the poet himself read the entire work below.


Complacencies of the peignoir, and late
Coffee and oranges in a sunny chair,
And the green freedom of a cockatoo
Upon a rug mingle to dissipate
The holy hush of ancient sacrifice.
She dreams a little, and she feels the dark
Encroachment of that old catastrophe,
As a calm darkness among water-lights.
The pungent oranges and bright, green wings
Seem things in some procession of the dead,
Winding across wide water, without sound.
The day is like wide water, without sound,
Stilled for the passing of her dreaming feet
Over the seas, to silent Palestine,
Dominion of the blood and sepulchre.


  1. So beautiful--thanks for that. (Also--I haven't been around in a while, and I love the new blog header! Is that Sophie? It's a gorgeous photo.)

  2. My Sunday mornings have to take place on Monday now as I am just getting of a 12 hour night shift. It isn't the same. Sunday is such a sweet day.

  3. I'm always delighted and surprised of the poems you post Elizabeth. I like how this one rolls off my tongue as I read it. Poetry should be read out loud to savor just as the act of peeling an orange. Don't you think?

  4. I haven't read this poem in a thousand years. So good to have it pop back into my life again. Thank you, Elizabeth.

  5. So lovely! I love the photo of the oranges, too. And I'm pleased that your toilet paper roll got replaced. ;-)



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