At night, by the fire,
The colors of the bushes
And of the fallen leaves,
Repeating themselves,
Turned in the room,
Like the leaves themselves
Turning in the wind.
Yes: but the color of the heavy hemlocks
Came striding.
And I remembered the cry of the peacocks.

The colors of their tails
Were like the leaves themselves
Turning in the wind,
In the twilight wind.
They swept over the room,
Just as they flew from the boughs of the hemlocks
Down to the ground.
I heard them cry — the peacocks.
Was it a cry against the twilight
Or against the leaves themselves
Turning in the wind,
Turning as the flames
Turned in the fire,
Turning as the tails of the peacocks
Turned in the loud fire,
Loud as the hemlocks
Full of the cry of the peacocks?
Or was it a cry against the hemlocks?

Out of the window,
I saw how the planets gathered
Like the leaves themselves
Turning in the wind.
I saw how the night came,
Came striding like the color of the heavy hemlocks
I felt afraid.
And I remembered the cry of the peacocks.

Analysis, meaning and summary of Wallace Stevens's poem Domination Of Black


  1. David says:

    Here is what this poem says to me. All is the same. Everything abstracted only slightly becomes like everything else. The poem distilled most simply is this. The bright red berry of the hemlock, surrounded by its leaves sparkling with firelight either in his room or from his room. The bright red center of the peacocks tail feather, surrounded by a swirl of iridescent color. The sun surrounded by a swirl of planets and stars in the dark sky. Wallace himself, a flash of color sitting before the brightness of the fire. All the same. So simple and sudden in his realization. And he felt afraid.

  2. manaal says:

    the tittle of poem is even very symbolic….domination of black meanz approaching symbolysis death or evil also……….

  3. mano says:

    i needed critical summary for this poem but could not find….how poet has used colours to show his theem.plz help me

  4. Meg says:

    I believe that it shows how night turns simple things into our greatest fears. At night a cat running by, or wind blowing through the trees can scare us because our imagination takes flight. It is in this way that darkness rules gives strength to those fears and allows them to take over us.

  5. Andy says:

    I don’t believe this one has a clear “meaning.” Perhaps it’s best to think of it more like a musical tone poem or as an abstract painting with words rather than paint. There are some meaningful trends in the text: night is coming on, and it is autumn, both of these have symbolic associations with death or its approach. The poem is hypnotic in its repetitions, and builds from leaves turning in the wind all the way to the stars turning in the heavens. A dark mood prevails and the poet feels fear. And then there are those haunting cries from the peacocks. This is one of my favorite poems, even if I don’t think it has a clearly definable meaning. It is an object of beauty, to be seen simply for what it is. (see his poem the snow man).

  6. sunan says:

    i am an indian student. it is difficult poem. i cannot understand.

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