Friday, 8 August 2014

Day 749: Emperor of Ice-Cream

What if I told you the subject matter of this poem was death, a wake to be exact?  Oh yes. And the theme? Why life goes on of course, seize the day, eat the ice-cream, eat, drink and be merry before the opportunity passes. The only power worth having in this life is the ability to enjoy it,  hence 'the only emperor is the emperor of ice-cream.' 'Let the lamp affix its beam' to life being lived. 'Let be be the finale of seem.' Stop dithering, just be.

I love the sense of cheerful fatalism the poem creates and the giddy silliness Stevens (as always) adds to such a solemn occasion. Here's to seizing the day...or the ice-cream!

The Emperor of Ice-Cream - Wallace Stevens

Call the roller of big cigars,
The muscular one, and bid him whip
In kitchen cups concupiscent curds.
Let the wenches dawdle in such dress
As they are used to wear, and let the boys
Bring flowers in last month's newspapers.
Let be be finale of seem.
The only emperor is the emperor of ice-cream.

Take from the dresser of deal,
Lacking the three glass knobs, that sheet
On which she embroidered fantails once
And spread it so as to cover her face.
If her horny feet protrude, they come
To show how cold she is, and dumb.
Let the lamp affix its beam.
The only emperor is the emperor of ice-cream.

No comments:

Post a Comment

I'd love to hear what you think! To leave a comment - comment as/sign in with your Google ID if you have one, or website or blog address, or if these don't apply, sign in as Anonymous, and leave your name if you like!