Monday’s Verse

Dear readers,

I love ice cream, you know that right? Who doesn’t love ice cream?

I love rhymes, corny rhymes, and nonsense syllables, and I love needlessly highfalutin language. Sure, mystery, too… I like a good mystery.

Would it be any surprise then, that when faced with Wallace Stevens’ (1879-1955) "The Emperor of Ice Cream" in a high school textbook (Mark Engel remembers this), I would think, What… –what is this guy? What is this guy doing? Is he trying to be funny or something? This does not make any sense. I think I like this guy!

Only Wallace Stevens, the insurance executive, gets to be this bizarre and make so much damn sense. I still like him, and I still like ice cream, and maybe my tombstone could say "The Emperor of Ice Cream."

Speaking of long-lasting friendships, Tree, in this summer of photographic evidence that Monday’s Verse is a true, existing, thing-in-the-world, feast your eyeballs on the original Yeats Social Club, a strong core of founding/very-long-time MVers, the people who do haiku contests instead of jump balls to see who goes first in H-O-R-S-E. And who award bonus points for dribbling in dactylic hexameter. And enjoy a cool poem this hot summer day! -ed.

THE EMPEROR OF ICE CREAM

Call the roller of big cigars,
The muscular one, and bid him whip
In kitchen cups concupiscent curds.
Let the wenches dawdle in such dress
As they are used to wear, and let the boys
Bring flowers in last month’s newspapers.
Let be be finale of seem.
The only emperor is the emperor of ice-cream.

Take from the dresser of deal.
Lacking the three glass knobs, that sheet
On which she embroidered fantails once
And spread it so as to cover her face.
If her horny feet protrude, they come
To show how cold she is, and dumb.
Let the lamp affix its beam.
The only emperor is the emperor of ice-cream.

-1922

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