The Good Man Has No Shape

July 4, 2009

posted by Caroline Picard

THE GOOD MAN HAS NO SHAPE

by Wallace Stevens

Through centuries he lived in poverty.

God only was his only elegance.

*

Then generation by generation he grew

Stronger and freer, a little better off.

*

He lived each life because, if it was bad,

He said a good life would be possible.

*

At last the good life came, good sleep, bright fruit,

And Lazarus betrayed him to the rest,

*

Who killed him, sticking feathers in his flesh

To mock him. They placed with him in his grave

*

Sour wine to warn him, an empty book to read;

And over it they set a jagged sign,

*

Epitaphium to his death, which read

The Good Man Has No Shape, as if they knew.

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