Feb 8, 2012
Although I’ve discussed Wallace Stevens’ (1879-1955) “Disillusionment of Ten O’Clock” before (Feb. 11-12, 2010),
Banjo52: Disillusionment of Ten O’Clock by Wallace Stevens : The Poetry Foundation [poem] : Find Poems and Poets. Discover Poetry.
the poem makes a nice and fairly serious follow-up to my last post about the Super Bowl and the importance of color. There are some good visitor comments too. So let’s look at it again:
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,
All the colors in “Disillusionment” are good because they are vibrant and not white, not non-color.
Only the “white night-gowns” have negative value, as they “haunt” the houses, presumably with a deathly pallor.
The purple, green, yellow and blue rings add up to a package of dream-vitality with socks of lace, baboons, periwinkles, a drunk old sailor, and tigers. The craving for color and for strangeness culminates in the red weather of the last line. Stevens wants us to live in this cluster of vitality, not in the monotony of pale houses defined by colorless ghosts.
So, as outrageous as I might have sounded about team colors last post, there’s an element of seriousness in my rant. If you want me to respond irrationally, from my limbic system, to your nationalistic tribe, you need to make it worth my while. Lure me with blasts of color, not some dreary navy-blue sack cloth of a uniform.
Posted by Banjo52 at 9:43 AM