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William carlos williams

William Carlos Williams

POEMS
FOLLOWERS
9

When over the flowery, sharp pasture’s
edge, unseen, the salt ocean

lifts its form—chicory and daisies
tied, released, seem hardly flowers alone

but color and the movement—or the shape
perhaps—of relentlessness, whereas

the sea is circled and sways
peacefully upon its plantlike stem

The pure products of America
go crazy—
mountain folk from Kentucky

or the ribbed north end of
Jersey
with its isolate lakes and

valleys, its deaf—mutes, thieves
old names
and promiscuity between

devil—may—care men who have taken
to railroading
out of sheer lust of adventure—

and young slatterns, bathed
in filth
from monday to Saturday

to be tricked out that night
with gauds
from imaginations which have no

peasant traditions to give them
character
but flutter and flaunt

sheer rags– succumbing without
emotion
save numbed terror

under some hedge of choke—cherry
or viburnum—
which they cannot express—

Unless it be that marriage
perhaps
with a dash of Indian blood

will throw up a girl so desolate
so hemmed round
with disease and murder

that she’ll be rescued by an
agent—
reared by the state and

sent out a fifteen to work in
some hard—pressed
house in the suburbs—

some doctor’s family, some Elsie
voluptuous water
expressing with broken

brain the truth about us—
her great
ungainly hips and flopping breasts

addressed to cheap
jewelry
and rich young men with fine eyes

as if the earth under our feet
were
an excrement of some sky

and we degraded prisoners
destined
to hunger until we eat filth

while the imagination strains
after deer
going by fields of goldenrod in

the stifling heat of September
Somehow
it seem to destroy us

It is only in isolate flecks that
something
is given off

No one
to witness
and adjust, no one to drive the car

Rather notice, mon cher,
that the moon is
titled above
the point of the steeple
than that its color
is shell—pink.

Rather observe
that it is early morning
than that the sky
is smooth
as a turquoise.

Rather grasp
how the dark
converging lines
of the steeple
meet at a pinnacle ——
perceive how
its little ornament
tries to stop them—

See how it fails!
See how the converging lines
of the hexagonal spire
escape upward——
receding, dividing!
——petals
that guard and contain
the flower!

Observe
how motionless
the eaten moon
lies in the protective lines.
It is true:
in the light colors
of the morning

brown—stone and slate
shine orange and dark blue

But observe
the oppressive weight
of the squat edifice!
Observe
the jasmine lightness
of the moon.

2

Among the rain
and lights
I saw the figure 5
in gold
on a red
firetruck
moving
tense
unheeded
to gong clangs
siren howls
and wheels rumbling
through the dark city.

Among
of
green

stiff
old
bright

broken
branch
come

white
sweet
May

again

Trundled from
the strangeness of the sea ——
a kind of
heaven ——

Ladies and Gentlemen!
the greatest
sea—monster ever exhibited
alive

the gigantic sea—elephant! O wallow
of flesh where
are

there fish enough for
that
appetite stupidity
cannot lessen?

Sick
of Aprils smallness
the little
leaves ——

Flesh has lief of you
enormous sea ——
Speak!
Blouaugh! (feed

me) my
flesh is riven ——
fish after fish into his maw
unswallowing

to let them glide down
gulching back
half spittle half
brine

the
trouble eyes ——torn
from the sea.
(In

a practical voice.) They
ought
to put it back where
it came from.

Gape.
Strange head ——
told by old sailors ——
rising

bearded
to the surface ——and
the only
sense out of them

it that woman’s
Yes
it’s wonderful but they
ought to

put it
back into the sea where
it came from.
Blouaugh!

Swing ——ride
walk
on wires ——toss balls
stoop and

contort yourselves ——
But I
am love. I am
from the sea ——

Blouaugh!
there is no crime save
the too—heavy
body

the sea
held playfully ——comes
to the surface
the water

boiling
about the head the cows
scattering
fish dripping from

the bounty
of . . . . and spring
they say
Spring is icummen in ——

Sooner or later
we must come to the end
of striving

to re—establish
the image the image of
the rose

but not yet
you say extending the
time indefinitely

by your love until a whole
spring

rekindle
the violet to the very
lady’s—slipper

and so by
your love the very sun
itself is revived

When trouble comes your soul to try,
You love the friend who just “stands by.”
Perhaps there’s nothing he can do’€”
The thing is strictly up to you;
For there are troubles all your own,
And paths the soul must tread alone;
Times when love cannot smooth the road
Nor friendship lift the heavy load,
But just to know you have a friend
Who will “stand by” until the end,
Whose sympathy through all endures,
Whose warm handclasp is always yours’€”
It helps, someway, to pull you through,
Although there’s nothing he can do.
And so with fervent heart you cry,
“God bless the friend who just 'stands by’!”

It’s a strange courage
you give me ancient star:

Shine alone in the sunrise
toward which you lend no part!

SOFT as the bed in the earth  
Where a stone has lain—  
So soft, so smooth and so cool,  
Spring closes me in  
With her arms and her hands.        
 
Rich as the smell  
Of new earth on a stone,  
That has lain, breathing  
The damp through its pores—  
Spring closes me in        
With her blossomy hair;  
Brings dark to my eyes.

Vast and grey, the sky
is a simulacrum
to all but him whose days
are vast and grey and—
In the tall, dried grasses
a goat stirs
with nozzle searching the ground.
My head is in the air
but who am I...?
—and my heart stops amazed
at the thought of love
vast and grey
yearning silently over me.

a burst of iris so that
come down for
breakfast

we searched through the
rooms for
that

sweetest odor and at
first could not
find its

source then a blue as
of the sea
struck

startling us from among
those trumpeting
petals