by Wallace Stevens
Sunday Morning Choices Quotes
How we cite our quotes: (stanza.line)
She says, "But in contentment I still feel
The need of some imperishable bliss."
Death is the mother of beauty; hence from her,
Alone, shall come fulfillment to our dreams
And our desires. (lines 61-65)
The woman continues to go back and forth over whether she prefers the Christian or pagan perspective. The pagan perspective says that there can’t be beauty without change, and there can’t be change without death. Because we are a part of nature, we can only have "our dreams and our desires" fulfilled within the cycles of nature. By this point, the woman seems almost convinced, but she’s afraid to let go of Christianity’s promise of a never-ending heaven.
She hears, upon that water without sound,
A voice that cries, "The tomb in Palestine
Is not the porch of spirits lingering.
It is the grave of Jesus, where he lay." (lines 106-109)
A voice seems to come out of nowhere to say that Christ’s tomb is not a place where supernatural spirits hang out – it’s just the grave of a man, Jesus. The voice breaks the silence of "the water without sound," and we should probably assume that it comes from inside the woman’s mind. Does this sudden cry amount to a decision to let go of the Christian idea of heaven?