Wallace Stevens: Brief Encounter

I’ve been reading some Wallace Stevens this evening. His control of language is fierce and frightening. When he breaks grammar with such purpose, I am always startled. For instance, the line “Let be be finale of seem.” in Emperor of Ice-Cream. I wonder if I am allowed to do that as a translator.

So far, I keep returning to Another Weeping Woman, which I find spectacular and profoundly moving…especially the second verse: Poison grows in the dark./It is in the water of tears/Its black blooms rise.

Another Weeping Woman

Pour the unhappiness out
From your too bitter heart,
Which grieving will not sweeten.

Poison grows in this dark.
It is in the water of tears
Its black blooms rise.

The magnificent cause of being,
The imagination, the one reality
In this imagined world

Leaves you
With him for whom no phantasy moves,
And you are pierced by a death.