Harmonium

Not less because in purple I descended
The western day through what you called
The loneliest air, not less was I myself.

What was the ointment sprinkled on my beard?
What were the hymns that buzzed beside my ears?
What was the sea whose tide swept through me there?

Out of my mind the golden ointment rained,
And my ears made the blowing hymns they heard.
I was myself the compass of that sea:

I was the world in which I walked, and what I saw
Or heard or felt came not but from myself;
And there I found myself more truly and more strange.
—  Wallace Stevens, “Tea at the Palaz of Hoon”
White Houses
  • White Houses
  • Vanessa Carlton
  • Harmonium
Play

White Houses
Vanessa Carlton
Harmonium

The melody and lyrics of this song are just pure brilliance. I wish I could write something like this.

And did you know that MTV and VH1 banned this song and its music video because the lines

My first time, hard to explain
Rush of blood and a little bit of pain
On a cloudy day, it’s more common than you’d think
He’s my first mistake

are about a girl (the song’s protagonist) losing her virginity. Talk about hypocrisy.

I do not know which to prefer,
The beauty of inflections
Or the beauty of innuendoes,
The blackbird whistling
Or just after.
—  Wallace Stevens, section V of “Thirteen Ways of Looking at a Blackbird,” from Harmonium (Alfred A. Knopf, 1923)
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Harold Bloom recites Wallace Stevens’s poem “Tea at the Palaz of Hoon,” from his first book, Harmonium, which was published in 1923.

As Bloom wrote in Wallace Stevens: The Poems of Our Climate,

“The palaz of Hoon is sky and space seen as a gaudy and ornate dwelling; to have tea at the palaz is to watch the twilight while conversing with the setting sun, who is hardly lonely since all the air is his and since all directions are at home in him. He is himself when most imperial, in purple and gold, and his setting is a coronation.”

White Houses
  • White Houses
  • Vanessa Carlton
  • Harmonium
Play

Vanessa Carlton - White Houses.

"These silly little wounds will never mend.
I feel so far from where I’ve been.
So I go, and I will not be back here again,
I’m gone as the day is fading on white houses.
I lie, put my injuries all in the dust.
In my heart is the five of us,
In white houses.”

After spending the day with the best friend, I was reminded.