An attempt to discover life

by Wallace Stevens

At San Miguel de los Barios,
The waitress heaped up black Hermosas
In the magnificence of a volcano.
Round them she spilled the roses
Of the place, blue and green, both streaked.
And white roses shaded emerald on petals
Out of the deadliest heat.

There entered a cadaverous person,
Who bowed and, bowing, brought, in her mantilla,
A woman brilliant and pallid-skinned,
Of fiery eyes and long thin arms.
She stood with him at the table,
Smiling and wetting her lips
In the heavy air.

The green roses drifted up from the table
In smoke. The blue petals became
The yellowing fomentations of effulgence,
Among fomentations of black bloom and of white
The cadaverous persons were dispelled.
On the table near which they stood
Two coins were lying–dos centavos.

door Wallace Stevens



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