Table Talk Poem Analysis
October 1, 2017
Dr. Richard Joines
Of Table Talk and Transcending Societal Constraints to the Nothing That There Is As defined in the Merriam-Webster Dictionary, table talk is informal conversation at a table or during a meal; so, from the title itself the irony with which Stevens writes is seen when he makes something that is normally seen as shallow and casual into the deeper and more serious thing that Table Talk seems to be. This poem speaks to the brevity of human life and how humanity as whole reads too much into what we do and what we are, when, in the end is all nothing. What then? What more? It is foolish to try and pick apart the whys behind every motive and desire in this existence. We have but one life and should not worry about how to live it based on what we should like, but in what we happen to like because in the …show more content…
Does it truly matter what a god likes or does not? More simply that they do at all seems to be the point, that focusing on what you should do or like, is a hindering of true imagination. “Happens to like is one / Of the ways things happen to fall.” This might be Stevens way of saying that society places constraints upon us as to what we should or should not like and it limits our minds, that instead, taking things to just be things and not follow blindly where it is everyone goes.
In Sunday Morning Stevens says, “Death is the mother of beauty; hence from her / Alone, shall come fulfilment to our dreams” (44). This is a theme that is repeated time and time again, that in death shall we find an end, a peace. We see this in “It cannot matter at all.” The “all” he speaks of, our lives and what things that are important and what are not, hold no true meaning when death will one day be all that is. So we should not dwell on what we are told to like or do even, but to focus on our own minds and