Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Williams Carlos Williams from 'Spring and All'

Chapter I
Samuel Butler

The farmer in deep thought
is pacing through the rain
among his blank fields, with
hands in pockets,
in his head
the harvest already planted.
A cold wind ruffles the water
among the brown weeds.
On all sides
the world rolls coldly away:
black orchards
darkened by March clouds–
leaving room for thought.
Down past the brushwood
bristling by
the rain sluiced wagonroad
looms the artist figure
of the farmer–composing–

I imagine a poem written from margin to margin down the page like a block and I can't abide it. With this poem, it's as if the words themselves ask us to re-imagine a certain familiar landscape.

What I love most about this particular William Carlos Williams poem is the alliteration and accessible imagery.

On all sides
the world rolls coldly away

black orchards 
darkened by March clouds–leaving room for thought

This is exactly the kind of poem that begs to be read, even by the non-poetry lover. The words are so simple yet so packed.

The collection 'Spring and All' was published in 1923 the year after T.S. Eliot's The Waste Landone of the most important poems of all time. Of note, William Carlos Williams translated some of Pablo Neruda's poetry into English.


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