The most esoteric American poet since Emily Dickinson, Stevens infuses his work with symbolism of eastern religion, nature, and the mind. An insurance executive in Hartford his whole life, he carefully chose every word to create just the right emotional response he was looking for in his readers. Though not easily understood, he has proven a favorite of every generation of poets which have followed him.
Of Mere Being
The palm at the end of the mind,
Beyond the last thought, rises
In the Bronze Decor,
A gold-feathered bird
Sings in the palm, without human meaning,
Without human feeling, a foreign song.
You know then that it is not the reason
That makes us happy or unhappy.
The bird sings. Its feathers shine.
The palm stands on the edge of space.
The wind moves slowly in the branches.
The bird's fire-fangled feathers dangle down.