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William carlos williams

William Carlos Williams

POEMS
FOLLOWERS
10

Among
of
green

stiff
old
bright

broken
branch
come

white
sweet
May

again

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

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

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 ARCHER is wake!  
The Swan is flying!  
Gold against blue  
An Arrow is lying.  
There is hunting in heaven—          
Sleep safe till tomorrow.  
 
The Bears are abroad!  
The Eagle is screaming!  
Gold against blue  
Their eyes are gleaming!          
Sleep!  
Sleep safe till tomorrow.  
 
The Sisters lie  
With their arms intertwining;  
Gold against blue          
Their hair is shining!  
The Serpent writhes!  
Orion is listening!  
 
Gold against blue  
His sword is glistening!        
Sleep!  
There is hunting in heaven—  
Sleep safe till tomorrow.

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

An old willow with hollow branches
slowly swayed his few high gright tendrils
and sang:

Love is a young green willow
shimmering at the bare wood’s edge.

Leaves are graygreen,
the glass broken, bright green.

My shoes as I lean
unlacing them
stand out upon
flat worsted flowers
under my feet.
Nimbly the shadows
of my fingers play
unlacing
over shoes and flowers.

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’!”

While she sits
there
with tears on
her cheek

her cheek on
her hand

this little child
who robs her

knows nothing of
his theft

but rubs his
nose

1

Oh strong—ridged and deeply hollowed
nose of mine! what will you not be smelling?
What tactless asses we are, you and I, boney nose,
always indiscriminate, always unashamed,
and now it is the souring flowers of the bedraggled
poplars: a festering pulp on the wet earth
beneath them. With what deep thirst
we quicken our desires
to that rank odor of a passing springtime!
Can you not be decent? Can you not reserve your ardors
for something less unlovely? What girl will care
for us, do you think, if we continue in these ways?
Must you taste everything? Must you know everything?
Must you have a part in everything?

As the cat
climbed over
the top of

the jamcloset
first the right
forefoot

carefully
then the hind
stepped down

into the pit of
the empty
flowerpot