A Postcard From The Volcano?

A Postcard From The Volcano is a beautifully crafted poem by Wallace Stevens that delves into themes of time, memory, and the passage of life. Written in 1914, the poem reflects on the inevitability of change and the fleeting nature of human existence.

Exploring Time and Memory

Stevens uses vivid imagery and evocative language to capture the essence of time passing. The poem opens with a depiction of a serene landscape, where “The lilac and the rose” bloom in a garden. This idyllic scene serves as a backdrop for the poet’s reflections on the passage of time.

As the poem progresses, Stevens introduces the figure of a father and son, whose relationship becomes a central focus of the narrative. The father is described as a “man in his prime,” while the son is still a child. This juxtaposition highlights the cyclical nature of life, as the father represents the past and the son symbolizes the future.

The Poignant Power of Memory

Throughout the poem, Stevens explores the power of memory to shape our understanding of the world. The poet reflects on the passing of time and the inevitability of change, while also acknowledging the enduring nature of memory. He writes, “The father is not, but the son is, and the son / Will be in the dark…” This poignant passage underscores the bittersweet nature of memory, as it allows us to hold onto the past even as we move forward into the future.


A Postcard From The Volcano is a profound meditation on the nature of time and memory. Through vivid imagery and lyrical language, Wallace Stevens invites readers to reflect on the fleeting nature of human existence and the enduring power of memory. The poem serves as a poignant reminder of the cyclical nature of life, and the importance of cherishing the moments we have before they slip away.

Overall, A Postcard From The Volcano is a timeless work of art that continues to resonate with readers today. Its exploration of time, memory, and the passage of life is both poignant and thought-provoking, making it a must-read for anyone interested in poetry and the human experience.

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