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Ten O’Clock

Wednesday, 12 April, 2017 0 Comments

In his poem Disillusionment of Ten O’Clock, Wallace Stevens uses the word “ceintures”. A misspelling of “centuries”? Not quite. The etymology shows it as a borrowing from the French ceinture, which is a term in dressmaking for a belt or girdle.

Disillusionment of Ten O’Clock

The houses are haunted
By white night-gowns.
None are green,
Or purple with green rings,
Or green with yellow rings,
Or yellow with blue rings.
None of them are strange,
With socks of lace
And beaded ceintures.
People are not going
To dream of baboons and periwinkles.
Only, here and there, an old sailor,
Drunk and asleep in his boots,
Catches tigers
In red weather.

Wallace Stevens (1879 – 1955)

Ten


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