Wallace Stevens

(October 2, 1879 – August 2, 1955 / Pennsylvania / United States)

Disillusionment of Ten O'Clock


The houses are haunted
By white night-gowns.
None are green,
Or purple with green rings,
Or green with yellow rings,
Or yellow with blue rings.
None of them are strange,
With socks of lace
And beaded ceintures.
People are not going
To dream of baboons and periwinkles.
Only, here and there, an old sailor,
Drunk and asleep in his boots,
Catches Tigers
In red weather.

Submitted: Friday, January 03, 2003

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  • Carrie D'amato (10/9/2008 9:24:00 PM)

    I have to agree with C Carey. Stevens was most noted for his exploration of reality and the imagination, and how they are reconciled. This poem is more about the reality of the world lacking an imagination except for a drunk, or rather a man not who is not perceived as part of the mainstream. (Report) Reply

  • Gosia Dobosz (12/30/2007 3:23:00 PM)

    Well, I think it's funny - not stupid at all. Poetry doesn't have to be deadly serious. Don't you think? (Report) Reply

  • Lamont Palmer (11/1/2006 6:06:00 AM)

    Thank you Carey for your comment. Some 'poets' have no imagination or a sense of fancy at all, which is why a lot of contemporary poetry is banal, flat, with all the music of a newspaper column. -LP (Report) Reply

  • C Carey (9/17/2006 7:36:00 PM)

    Not silly at all. The world is all too utterly without imagination. Boring as white nightgowns, without color or vigor or life. Thank goodness for the old drunk who at least has an imagination. That's it, pure and simple, gracefully told. (Report) Reply

  • Poetry Hound (5/30/2006 3:03:00 PM)

    This bit of puffery is in the Top 500 of poems? It's pretty silly stuff. Perhaps it has an appeal to young children. (Report) Reply

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