Friday, 17 February 2017

The Man with the Blue Guitar - Two Paintings

A singular poem I read fairly often is Wallace Stevens' The Man with the Blue Guitar.  

Stevens was inspired by Pablo Picasso's famous painting The Old Guitarist (click to see).

On rereading Stevens' poem recently I was inspired to reach for my paints:

The Man with the Blue Guitar (detail) - gw2017

And now some lines from the beginning and end of the poem:

The Man with the Blue Guitar


The man bent over his guitar,
A shearsman of sorts. The day was green.

They said, "You have a blue guitar,
You do not play things as they are."

The man replied, "Things as they are
Are changed upon the blue guitar."

. . .


I cannot bring a world quite round,
Although I patch it as I can.

I sing a hero's head, large eye
And bearded bronze, but not a man,

Although I patch him as I can
And reach through him almost to man.

. . .


. . .

                    / The bread
Will be our bread, the stone will be

Our bed and we shall sleep by night.
We shall forget by day, except

The moments when we choose to play
The imagine pine, the imagined jay.


  1. For technical reasons the bottom part of the painting cannot be shown here. The guitarist is actually shown surrounded by greenery as if floating in space.

  2. I like the painting, Gwil, and the colours; brilliant! Ciao.
    Greetings Maria x