Wednesday, January 6, 2010 of the moment, or...

There is the beauty of the moment
and of the moment gone.
I do not know which to prefer,
The beauty of inflections
Or the beauty of innuendos,
The blackbird whistling,
Or just after.

~Wallace Stevens~

Since there seem to be a few of us in the blogosphere reading Wallace Stevens these days, I decided to share another of my favorite poems of his here.  I wanted to share "Sunday Morning" (last Sunday!) but it is a very long poem and I'm not sure it is suitable for a blog......But you never know, I just might be in the mood to give it a go here, one day.  In the meantime, if you like his work, you could look it up and read it.

Do let me know how you react to 'The Beauty of the Moment'.

The photographs are of blue, christmas-type beads that are looped over a white glass lampshade, allowing the light to shine through.  I liked the bokeh* effect and thought I would share the beauty of its moment here.

* Bokeh: a Japanese term for the subjective aesthetic quality of out-of-focus areas of a photographic image.
Example: The bokeh, or quality of the blurred image in the photograph, was described and discussed.


  1. I thought your photo was of ice, Bonnie.
    I like the poem - especially the last line because it is so true.

  2. Hi Bonnie-
    beautiful imagery and poetry. and "thank you" for reminding me that there is so much to embrace, learn, and experience every moment.

    love gail

  3. The last line of his poem was delightful and insightful...

    your pictures are wonderful as well,

    much love

  4. I couldn't tell what that picture was, but it's so beautiful. And I love Wallace Stevens. Love this poem. "... the whistle or the moment after..." Gorgeous.

  5. I love the photos and the fabulous, perfect Wallace Stevens poem. It makes me want to go hunt down my book of his poetry! Thanks, Bonnie. Blessings!

  6. The Japanese have so many words for subtle aesthetics. It is hard to decide whether to focus on the whole or its parts.

  7. Thanks for the love darling and the ongoing support.

    You are a dream and I am happy that I have you.

    Renee xoxoxo

  8. I am so glad you told us the photo was beads over a lamp! I too thought, ice or a nature shot of some kind. I have been thinking quite a bit of the "after." I wonder about the "uncelebrated" moments. Or the frame right after or just before we've captured what we set out to get. The ordinary, found in the shadow of the extraordinary... or "the after." Great food for thought!!

  9. Thanks for putting some meaning to the term 'bokeh' for me. I have not been able to find a word to describe this effect, an effect that has long fascinated me.

    The beauty of Wallace Steven's poetry goes without saying.

  10. "Boca" is something entirely different.

    You should have seen my face as I'm looking at the photos...first I cocked my head left, then right....just like a little birdie. Couldn't figure out what I was looking at! that I know what it is! Lovely poem as well.

  11. Hi, Bonnie,

    I like this poem just as much as The Snowman for many of the same reasons. Wallace Stevens clearly had developed great clarity of mind. He developed a mind similar to that of a spiritual practitioner, someone who was able to discern the difference between raw perception and the stories/interpretations we almost immediately add to those perceptions.

    That said, the question he seems to ask which to prefer: (A) the immediate sensory perception (the blackbird whistling) or, (b) the moment just after (presumably to savor the experience and reflect upon it). My comment is that simply noticing the difference between (a) and (b) is quite an accomplishment. Deciding to prefer one to the other may be comparatively unimportant. Why would it matter?

  12. I love memories of a moment...they stay with us longer.

  13. Very interesting and thoughtful poem, Bonnie. To me it was always part of the one experience, but now thanks to Wallace I see it is actually two: the experience and the savoring.

    The latter could not exist without the former but we'd be pretty dull indeed if we failed to savor the experience.

    It would be like going to the theatre with friends and then out for coffee after and never mentioning the play.

  14. Poetry is the supreme fiction, madame.
    Take the moral law and make a nave of it
    And from the nave build haunted heaven.

    Bonnie, dear, I have been sitting on W.S in an anthology
    of American Verse and didn't know it. Or not fully, anyway.
    I'm off.....

  15. Hello Bonnie

    I have added Wallace Stevens to my poetry list!

    I love this seems to me that there are at least four experiences:

    the actual hearing of the bird whistling

    the immediate response in our bodies, minds, and hearts

    the connections it makes for us, what happens in the depths of the brain, what is triggered...what thoughts or emotions we experience as a result

    and then there is also a memory of the bird song...which may or may not include the response we had to it and may also become embellished...

    Interesting stuff...

    what a great little poem
    thanks Bonnie

    Happy days

    and the memory of it


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