The last of the Six Significant Landscapes by Wallace Stevens:

Rationalists, wearing square hats,
Think, in square rooms,
Looking at the floor,
Looking at the ceiling.
They confine themselves
To right-angled triangles.
If they tried rhomboids,
Cones, waving lines, ellipses—
As for example, the ellipse of the half-moon—
Rationalists would wear sombreros.

Early Stevens is irresistible.


  1. Looking at the whole poem, I changed all the masculine words with feminine, and feminine with masculine, and found it works, adding a surreal twistiness. I do get tired of being an embodiment of darkness and emblematic of dualism in men’s poetry.

  2. Yeah, and the problem is a lot worse with Symbolist poetry, where every fucking thing is represented by some Dark/Unknown/Beautiful Lady or other.

  3. And don’t let’s even get fucking started about Goddamn Shakespeare and his miserable arsing sonnets.

  4. Graham Asher says

    Luckily I missed all these nuances and rather liked the poem.

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