by Wallace Stevens
Sunday Morning Man and the Natural World Quotes
How we cite our quotes: (stanza.line)
And in their chant shall enter, voice by voice,
The windy lake wherein their lord delights,
The trees, like serafin, and echoing hills,
That choir among themselves long afterward. (lines 98-101)
Nature and man seem to unite as the trees, lake, and hills all add to the music of the pagan men’s chant. In fact, nature is always in "choir," even after the men stop singing. But, the chant allows the men to notice the natural symphony that is there all along. Although nature isn’t domesticated in this image, natural events almost seem to cooperate with human goals.
We live in an old chaos of the sun,
Or old dependency of day and night,
Or island solitude, unsponsored, free,
Of that wide water, inescapable.
Deer walk upon our mountains, and the quail
Whistle about us their spontaneous cries;
Sweet berries ripen in the wilderness;
And, in the isolation of the sky,
At evening, casual flocks of pigeons make
Ambiguous undulations as they sink,
Downward to darkness, on extended wings. (lines 110-120)
This final image presents nature at its most wild and "chaotic." Ironically, we can see examples of chaotic nature even close to home – the pigeons in the street, for example, which suddenly look very strange in this poem as they fly into darkness. None of the natural events in this stanza occur with the permission, help, or knowledge of humans. Nature continues to go about its business, even when no one is around. Amid such beautiful but mysterious things, humans are like an island surrounded by "inescapable" water.