Peace Poem: Wallace Stevens: The House was Quiet and the World was Calm

This blog is often about violence, war and the opposite of good conflict handling. I came across a marvelous Wallace Stevens poem The House was Quiet and the World Was Calm that captures the essence of a mood of peace. It is also cited in the interesting new book: ‘The Shallows: What the Internet is Doing to our Brains’ and in that context focuses our attention on the fact that to solve tough problems like conflict, we need to focus our attention and a place of quiet without interruptions or distractions is very helpful for this.

The house was quiet and the world was calm.
The reader became the book; and summer night

Was like the conscious being of the book.
The house was quiet and the world was calm.

The words were spoken as if there was no book,
Except that the reader leaned above the page,

Wanted to lean, wanted much to be
The scholar to whom his book is true, to whom

The summer night is like a perfection of thought.
The house was quiet because it had to be.

The quiet was part of the meaning, part of the mind:
The access of perfection to the page.

And the world was calm. The truth in a calm world,
In which there is no other meaning, itself

Is calm, itself is summer and night, itself
Is the reader leaning late and reading there

See more about Wallace (1879-1955) at

And here is his photo

About creativeconflictwisdom

I spent 32 years in a Fortune Five company working on conflict: organizational, labor relations and senior management. I have consulted in a dozen different business sectors and the US Military. I work with a local environmental non profit. I have written a book on the neuroscience of conflict, and its implications for conflict handling called Creative Conflict Wisdom (forthcoming).
This entry was posted in Conflict Book Reviews, Conflict Poetry, Conflict Processes, Neuro-science of conflict and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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