Gertrude Stein explaining why she said, “A rose is a rose is a rose.”
Can’t you see that when the language was new – as it was with Chaucer and Homer – the poet could use the name of the thing and the thing was really there? He could say “O moon,” “O sea,” “O love” and the moon and the sea and love were really there. And can’t you see that after hundreds of years had gone by and thousands of poems had been written, he could call on those words and find that they were just worn-out literary words… We all know that it’s hard to write poetry in a late age; and we know that you have to put some strangeness, something unexpected, into the structure of the sentence in order to bring back vitality to the noun… Now listen! I’m no fool. I know that in daily life we don’t say, “is a… is a… is a…” Yes, I’m no fool, but I think that in that line the rose is red for the first time in English poetry for a hundred years.