Sad Strains of a Gay Waltz
by Wallace Stevens
The truth is that there comes a time
When we can mourn no more over music
That is so much motionless sound.
There comes a time when the waltz
Is no longer a mode of desire, a mode
Of revealing desire and is empty of shadows.
Too many waltzes have ended. And then
There’s that mountain-minded Hoon,
For whom desire was never that of the waltz,
Who found all form and order in solitude,
For whom the shapes were never the figures of men.
Now, for him, his forms have vanished.
There is order in neither sea nor sun.
The shapes have lost their glistening.
There are these sudden mobs of men,
These sudden clouds of faces and arms,
An immense suppression, freed,
These voices crying without knowing for what,
Except to be happy, without knowing how,
Imposing forms they cannot describe,
Requiring order beyond their speech.
Too many waltzes have ended. Yet the shapes
For which the voices cry, these, too, may be
Modes of desire, modes of revealing desire.
Too many waltzes–The epic of disbelief
Blares oftener and soon, will soon be constant.
Some harmonious skeptic soon in a skeptical music
Will unite these figures of men and their shapes
Will glisten again with motion, the music
Will be motion and full of shadows.