Thursday, February 28, 2013

Wallace Stevens on persimmons

From a November 24, 1941 letter to C. L. Daughtry:

Many thanks for the persimmons. These meant more to me than you can imagine. I have far more things to eat and far more things to drink than are good for me. I indulge in abstemious spells merely to keep my balance.

Wild persimmons make one feel like a hungry man in the woods. As I ate them, I thought of opossums and birds, and the antique Japanese prints in black and white, in which monkeys are eating persimmons in bare trees. There is nothing more desolate than a persimmon tree, with the old ripe fruit hanging on it. As you see, there is such a thing as being a spiritual epicure.

Collected Poetry and Prose, ed. Frank Kermode and Joan Richardson (New York: Library of America, 1997).
[This post is for Craig and Marjorie.]

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