Treasure Island

William F Dougherty

(West Hartford, CT)

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Wallace Stevens: The Click of Marbled Orbs


(Sonnet as Keynote to WS)

The stout man puffs on his Havana cigar
And picks canary chords on his blue guitar,
Fashions flawed words and spindrift sounds
Into day-glow verbs and glass-blown nouns.
How much the notion of a supreme fiction
Derives from bric-a-brac and spiffy diction
None knows. Say his thickest absolutes
Derive from blue rotundities of fruits:
His crispest jugglery performs the feat
Of hardening stealthy points into concrete
Trombones, sausage-makers, cattle skulls,
And pettifogging buds. His monocle's
Univocal, a prop that lets him see
Glories in pewter, and mere poetry.


(Published in The Wallace Stevens Journal, Fall 2005. Vol.29. No.2 p.304)

Submitted: Monday, September 22, 2008
Edited: Thursday, May 10, 2012

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Comments about this poem (Wallace Stevens: The Click of Marbled Orbs by William F Dougherty )

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  • Jim Hogg (4/28/2014 4:25:00 AM)

    I thought the hardening into concrete as opposed to abstract was very stealthily clever. Sometimes where there's doubt you have to let the prior rhythm guide you as to emphasis. I'm sure that if Stevens were able to read this he'd shake his head and say damn, was I really worthy of this? .... cattle skulls,
    And pettifogging buds.... serious poetic nourishment! (Report) Reply

  • Michelle Claus (4/27/2014 5:45:00 PM)

    I happen to be a reader unfamiliar with the work of Wallace Stevens, but I like William F. Dougherty's poem nonetheless. The first four lines are tight and descriptive. - glassblown nouns - terrific! ! My primary takeaway from this sonnet is Mr. Dougherty's admiration for Wallace Stevens; it genuinely comes across. (Report) Reply

  • Leslie Philibert (4/27/2014 4:30:00 AM)

    Like this, note you use the Shakespearian form and end on a couplet, not a Petrachian sonnet rhyme scheme.
    Good write (Report) Reply

  • * Sunprincess * (4/27/2014 3:13:00 AM)

    .....a wonderful write for member poem of the day....excellent rhyming...and a pleasure to read... (Report) Reply

  • William F Dougherty (7/25/2012 6:55:00 PM)

    1) concrete refers to standard term for imagery as specific, not to hardness.
    2) Line # scansion depends on pronunciation of hardening-commonly sounded as two
    syllables and keeping the line in iambic pentameter.
    3) If scanned as three syllables you have iamb/anapest/iamb/iamb/iamb, a permissible and
    commonly used substituion, which see.

    Appreciate your close attention and metrical know-how. (Report) Reply

  • Robert Shelby (7/25/2012 4:59:00 PM)

    This sonnet works well and to good point save line-10 which breaks rhythm and should not end with into concrete having begun with Of hardening but instead with some other -eat rhyme. (Report) Reply

  • Besa Dede (4/30/2012 11:19:00 PM)

    This is a very beautiful poem with a very tender rhythm. I am loving the vivid description of the narration. Thank you for sharing.
    ~Besa (Report) Reply

  • Lamont Palmer (4/27/2012 4:20:00 PM)

    Brilliant tribute to the great bard of CT. Not a word out of place, not a rhythm gone awry. Captures the dexterity which characterizes Stevens. I am humbled and in awe. (Report) Reply

  • Guillermo Veloso (4/27/2012 2:32:00 PM)

    Stevens never fails to excite, prick, and otherwise annoy...Love This! ! ! ...Take the general, pedandtic, and otherwise presumptive crap and find a better use....a man's/woman's expressions of self are enough and that is enough.. (Report) Reply

  • Pranab K Chakraborty (4/27/2012 2:30:00 AM)

    Rhyming diction is unique with the flavor of picturising the reality. The form may be conventional, but the content keeps foot to the contemporary dailiness. Classic its general appearance but existing reality is its heart. So its create an interest to read it again. (Report) Reply

  • Francis X. Burns (4/17/2012 2:07:00 PM)

    Recognize this sonnet's use of allusions as tribute to Stevens anthologized poems-especially trombones, sausage makers, cattle skulls and pettifogging buds. Footnotes might clarify the allusions for readers not familiar with Stevens elegant stye. (Report) Reply

Read all 12 comments »

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