Not less because in purple I descended
The western day through what you called
The loneliest air, not less was I myself.
What was the ointment sprinkled on my beard?
What were the hymns that buzzed beside my ears?
What was the sea whose tide swept through me there?
Out of my mind the golden ointment rained,
And my ears made the blowing hymns they heard.
I was myself the compass of that sea:
I was the world in which I walked, and what I saw
Or heard or felt came not but from myself;
And there I found myself more truly and more strange.
—Wallace Stevens, Tea at the Palaz of Hoon first published in Harmonium (1921)
Listen to Harold Bloom read the poem:
Listen to Aaron Copland’s Prelude for Chamber Orchestra (1924) performed by the London Sinfonietta, Oliver Knussen, conducting: