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A poem worth pondering in an election year, by the great Wallace Stevens, from his Parts of a World (1942).

Audio bonus: see further below for the next in this month's Frank O'Hara readings by Knopf poets.

Idiom of the Hero

I heard two workers say, "This chaos
Will soon be ended."

This chaos will not be ended,
The red and the blue house blended,

Not ended, never and never ended,
The weak man mended,

The man that is poor at night

Like the man that is rich and right.
The great men will not be blended...

I am the poorest of all.
I know that I can not be mended,

Out of the clouds, pomp of the air,
By which at least I am befriended.

Audio bonus! Click here to listen to Marie Ponsot reading Frank O'Hara's "Again John Keats, or the Pot of Basil".



About Wallace Stevens

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Excerpt from THE COLLECTED POEMS OF WALLACE STEVENS. Copyright © 1990 by the Estate of Wallace Stevens. Excerpted by permission of Vintage Books, a division of Random House LLC. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.

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