The House Was Quiet And The World Was Calm

The house was quiet and the world was calm.
The reader became the book; and summer night

Was like the conscious being of the book.
The house was quiet and the world was calm.

The words were spoken as if there was no book,
Except that the reader leaned above the page,

Wanted to lean, wanted much to be
The scholar to whom his book is true, to whom

The summer night is like a perfection of thought.
The house was quiet because it had to be.

The quiet was part of the meaning, part of the mind:
The access of perfection to the page.

And the world was calm. The truth in a calm world,
In which there is no other meaning, itself

Is calm, itself is summer and night, itself
Is the reader leaning late and reading there.

by Wallace Stevens

Comments (8)

Enjoyed so much the comments by the people below- this poem brought out a lot of insight. I cannot add a thing to their brilliant thoughts about the relationships being portrayed by this beauty. I do like how he gave this poem its calm soothing atmosphere. For one thing, he repeated the word calm six times. Only a great poet can get by with that! But another way he created that calm was by writing longer lines and that has a lulling effect that short staccato lines do not create. Then there is the rhythm of words like in these: - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - The house was quiet and the world was calm. The reader became the book; and summer night Was like the conscious being of the book. The house was quiet and the world was calm.
Wow, I can certainly relate to this one. I have never read his poetry before, but I will surely read more. So appropriate, given the subject matter of this poem, that he was from a town called Reading!
Beautiful poem. Such a pleasure to read and immerse in its depth of thought. Beauty and truth coexist here.
The conscience being of the book! The truth is the key. Nice piece of work.
Another excellent Wallace Stevens commentary on how the mind creates our reality. Here the reader becomes the book as the book becomes a being and part of the night with all things unified within the mind and imagination. I love Stevens' poetry.
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