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A Detailed Look at the Second and Third Stanzas in Wallace Stevens’
Of Mere Being
The poem, “Of Mere Being,” by Wallace Stevens, describes the image of a golden bird singing in a palm tree. The first stanza describes a palm tree, standing “at the end of the mind.” Continuing the poem through solar imagery, a singing bird is pictured in the tree. Stevens then proposes to the reader that we do not need to understand the bird’s song, or why it gives us emotional responses. The reader is lead to except the fact that the bird just exists in the palm tree, in space.
In the first line of the second stanza, the bird is described as “gold feathered.” The significance of a golden bird could symbolize one’s soul, or inner spirit. On the other hand, the bird could be completely outside of us. Its existence is an occurrence that we have no control over. Gold is a precious metal, which could signify life, importance, purity, or something desired. The fact that the bird is gold could signify that the bird’s existence is something that the reader could desire.
In the second and third lines of the second stanza, Stevens tells the reader that the bird sings in the palm without any context of human meaning or feeling. The bird is completely alien from our world. This could be a reference to the introverted personal life, which Stevens lead. Stevens had few close friends, and rarely ventured out in the public eye. In Steven’s essay, “The Noble rider and the Sound of Words,” Stevens explores the role of the poet. Similar to the Greek views of the Philosopher, Stevens sees the poet as a noble person who is sensitive to reality. “[The poet’s] role, in short, is to help people live their lives. Time and time again it has been said that he may not address himself to an elite. I think he may” (Stevens 5). This implies that the poetic Stevens ...
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