Wallace Stevens

Here you will find the Poem Farewell To Florida of poet Wallace Stevens

Farewell To Florida

Go on, high ship, since now, upon the shore, 
The snake has left its skin upon the floor. 
Key West sank downward under massive clouds 
And silvers and greens spread over the sea. The moon 
Is at the mast-head and the past is dead. 
Her mind will never speak to me again. 
I am free. High above the mast the moon 
Rides clear of her mind and the waves make a refrain 
Of this: that the snake has shed its skin upon 
The floor. Go on through the darkness. The waves fly back 

Her mind had bound me round. The palms were hot 
As if I lived in ashen ground, as if 
The leaves in which the wind kept up its sound 
From my North of cold whistled in a sepulchral South, 
Her South of pine and coral and coraline sea, 
Her home, not mine, in the ever-freshened Keys, 
Her days, her oceanic nights, calling 
For music, for whisperings from the reefs. 
How content I shall be in the North to which I sail 
And to feel sure and to forget the bleaching sand ... 

I hated the weathery yawl from which the pools 
Disclosed the sea floor and the wilderness 
Of waving weeds. I hated the vivid blooms 
Curled over the shadowless hut, the rust and bones, 
The trees likes bones and the leaves half sand, half sun. 
To stand here on the deck in the dark and say 
Farewell and to know that that land is forever gone 
And that she will not follow in any word 
Or look, nor ever again in thought, except 
That I loved her once ... Farewell. Go on, high ship. 

My North is leafless and lies in a wintry slime 
Both of men and clouds, a slime of men in crowds. 
The men are moving as the water moves, 
This darkened water cloven by sullen swells 
Against your sides, then shoving and slithering, 
The darkness shattered, turbulent with foam. 
To be free again, to return to the violent mind 
That is their mind, these men, and that will bind 
Me round, carry me, misty deck, carry me 
To the cold, go on, high ship, go on, plunge on.