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Wallace Stevens (1879—1955) American poet

Harmonium

Gavin Stevens

 

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Emperor of Ice Cream


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Poem by Wallace Stevens, published in Harmonium. Presenting the body of a slatternly woman at her wake attended by a man who represents pleasure and by wenches who are apparently fellow prostitutes, the refrain declares that the only ruling power is the emperor of ice cream, or physical satisfaction, but it is evident that death is the real ruler and that with it all pretense or seeming must yield to actuality.

Subjects: Literature


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