There is an error in this poem, but that error lead to a truth. The error is at the beginning: It has not always had / to find: the scene was set; It repeated what/ was in the script. When Stevens wrote this the armamentarium of the reader included the greek myths, the Bible, Gibbons decline and fall, and the full Victorian panoply encased within the multiple volumes of the Encylopediae and Dictionaries.
The Victorians had collected and classified. Wallace said there was no stage. In his day there was one.
Of Modern Poetry The poem of the mind in the act of finding What will suffice. It has not always had To find: the scene was set; it repeated what Was in the script. Then the theatre was changed To something else. Its past was a souvenir. It has to be living, to learn the speech of the place. It has to face the men of the time and to meet The women of the time. It has to think about war And it has to find what will suffice. It has To construct a new stage. It has to be on that stage And, like an insatiable actor, slowly and With meditation, speak words that in the ear, In the delicatest ear of the mind, repeat, Exactly, that which it wants to hear, at the sound Of which, an invisible audience listens, Not to the play, but to itself, expressed In an emotion as of two people, as of two Emotions becoming one. The actor is A metaphysician in the dark, twanging An instrument, twanging a wiry string that gives Sounds passing through sudden rightnesses, wholly Containing the mind, below which it cannot descend, Beyond which it has no will to rise. It must Be the finding of a satisfaction, and may Be of a man skating, a woman dancing, a woman Combing. The poem of the act of the mind. Wallace Stephens
The truth is that there is now no stage, and modern poetry has to create anew. But there is now post modern poetry, which does not consider there can be a communion with the mind, who cannot consider emotional connection, and like the Victorians classify people, but not to collect.
They classify to discard.