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J T Hutcherson P'cola / United States, Male, 21
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    • POEM: The Emperor Of Ice-Cream by Wallace Stevens (12/8/2007 8:33:00 PM)

      I've always loved this poem, for what it has to say, for how it was written and even the fact that it took me a long time to get into it, though the message is pretty straight forward. Maybe it was the vocabulary. I've been fascinated by it from the first reading.

      Anyhow, with the opening line, 'Call... The muscular one... concupiscent [lustful] curds...', I think Stevens is saying that life is grounded in the physical, and not only that, but also that we are driven and ruled by the yearning, pursuit and satisfaction of our desires, especially the physical ones.

      In fact, despite all of our history and great political movements and civilized accomplishments ('flowers wrapped in last months newspapers') , these simple needs and desires, even biological concerns, are at the core of everything we do. 'The emperor of ice cream' is simple desire personified, desire on an instinctual level. All this hustle and bustle, love and want of love, or just the attainment of a more extravagant luxury, this is life and it's who we are. 'Be (reality) ' really is the 'finale of seem'.

      Furthermore, I think Stevens admires the hustle and bustle of humanity going about its various pursuits. In the second stanza Stevens is confirming that being driven by desire is as it should be, because without desire life is cheap furniture like a 'dresser of deal', cold and colorless like dead flesh. In this funeral scene the only things to be noted with interest are the
      'embroidered fantails' on a sheet that the deceased had tried to make more beautiful, more desirable.

      'Let the lamp affix its beam, ' you can dress it up or look at it directly under the cold, bright lamp of the mortician, but in the end death is of little consequence. There is nothing in death, nothing to long for, nothing to admire.