Wallace Stevens – The Chief of Wordplay – Bantams in Pines

Once you have encountered a great wordsmith, your life will never be the same. Almost half a century ago, I read this poem by Wallace Stevens.  Individually, the words say NOTHING!  But the rhythm and the imagery are superior.  Collectively, the poem is epic. Over the years, I have repeatedly found myself randomly reciting this poem and chuckling. That is how a poem means. Enjoy!

Chieftain Iffucan of Azcan in caftan
Of tan with henna hackles, halt!
Damned universal cock, as if the sun
Was blackamoor to bear your blazing tail.
Fat! Fat! Fat! Fat! I am the personal.
Your world is you. I am my world.
You ten-foot poet among inchlings. Fat!
Begone! An inchling bristles in these pines,
Bristles, and points their Appalachian tangs,
And fears not portly Azcan nor his hoos.

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