Saturday, February 12, 2005

Play

Sour Grapes (1921)
by
William Carlos Williams

Play

Subtle, clever brain, wiser than I am,
by what devious means do you contrive
to remain idle? Teach me, O master.

Sources:

Public domain text taken from The Poets' Corner

Spring

Sour Grapes (1921)
by
William Carlos Williams

Spring

O my grey hairs!
You are truly white as plum blossoms.

In spite of the burden of his medical practice and a young family, Williams published four books of verse, Al Que Quiere! (1917), Kora in Hell (1920), Sour Grapes(1921), and Spring and All (1921), that visibly launched him as America's leading modernist. It was throughout the 1920s and 1930s while Williams labored mainly in anonymity during his stint with Robert McAlmom editing Contact where strong ideas arose to bond the earth with the reality of life. Soon the editors of the short-lived publication insisted that art stem from everyday life.

This celebration of the everyday came in part from a response to archaic forms of expression. Early in the century, poets of the movement known as imagism included many American poets. In addition to Pound and Lowell, H.D. (Hilda Doolittle) and William Carlos Williams-turned from ideas to things. They endeavored successfully to use a detached depiction of objects in the world, an approach that could truly create a deep emotional response in the reader.

Williams' work was frequently published in both Pound's and Amy Lowell's Imagist collections of poetry. Hence his first successful poems adhere essentially to the dictates of Imagism. The poems from this period of his life illustrate Williams steadily fashioning his elastic enjambment modes from the unrefined textile of run of the mill Modernist verse. They expose a gathering of distinctive imagery, alongside his desire to prove that he really values them. Words are used to envision short scenes and vivid objects. From time to time they pay homage to Eastern precedents and the subject of living life, love and the nature of truth and beauty, many of which are encapsulated within the metaphor of fruit. Profoundly influenced by Chinese and Japanese poets, Williams composed verse in which the existence of an object took center stage.

In this manner Williams shapes his response to the forces around him and Spring is no exception. Like summer spiders, an autumn moon or the winter bush warbler of the well seasoned haiku. The poet brings to the reader spring plum blossoms. He does a stunning job of putting such a simple sentence before the reader and allowing the mind's eye to clearly place it in an 8 X 10 mental Rolodex.

Sources:

Original text: "Spring," Sour Grapes: a Book of Poems (Boston: The Four Seas Company, 1921): 58. York University Library Special Collections 4748.

Selected Poetry of William Carlos Williams (1883-1963)

Public domain text taken from The Poets' Corner

William Carlos Williams

Williams' Life and Career

The Soughing Wind

Sour Grapes (1921)
by
William Carlos Williams

The Soughing Wind

Some leaves hang late, some fall
before the first frost--so goes
the tale of winter branches and old bones.

Sources:

Public domain text taken from The Poets' Corner

The Gentle Man

Sour Grapes (1921)
by
William Carlos Williams

The Gentle Man

I feel the caress of my own fingers
on my own neck as I place my collar
and think pityingly
of the kind women I have known.

Sources:

Public domain text taken from The Poets' Corner

To a Friend

Sour Grapes (1921)
by
William Carlos Williams

To a Friend

Well, Lizzie Anderson! seventeen men--and
the baby hard to find a father for!

What will the good Father in Heaven say
to the local judge if he do not solve this problem?
A little two-pointed smile and--pouff!--
the law is changed into a mouthful of phrases.

Sources:

Public domain text taken from The Poets' Corner


The Dark Day

Sour Grapes (1921)
by
William Carlos Williams

The Dark Day

A three-day-long rain from the east--
an terminable talking, talking
of no consequence--patter, patter, patter.
Hand in hand little winds
blow the thin streams aslant.
Warm. Distance cut off. Seclusion.
A few passers-by, drawn in upon themselves,
hurry from one place to another.
Winds of the white poppy! there is no escape!--
An interminable talking, talking,
talking . . .it has happened before.
Backward, backward, backward.

Sources:

Public domain text taken from The Poets' Corner

Friday, February 11, 2005

Thursday

Sour Grapes (1921)
by
William Carlos Williams

Thursday

I have had my dream--like others--
and it has come to nothing, so that
I remain now carelessly
with feet planted on the ground
and look up at the sky--
feeling my clothes about me,
the weight of my body in my shoes,
the rim of my hat, air passing in and out
at my nose--and decide to dream no more.


Public domain text taken from The Poets' Corner.

Thursday, February 10, 2005

Copyright notice

To the best of my knowledge, everything presented in "the perimeter of poetry and words," unless clearly explained otherwise, is believed to be in the public domain or fall within the guidelines of fair use within the United States, where the material is hosted. Note that, due to the Millennium Copyright Act most copyrights since 1923 have been extended another quarter century, so you will not be seeing most 20th century works online for a long, long time.

If you are doing research or copying from this site, please do me the courtesy of referencing the perimeter’s URL:
http://lometa.blogspot.com/

If you are among the number of readers who are outside the US, please check on the local copyright status before presuming 20th century works are in the public domain.

Please note that the copyright notice on the perimeter’s references 'The Perimeter,' all comments, researched and annotated material, as well as the HTML scripting and graphic that comprise the collection's characteristics. Please do not 'lift' pages from the collection to plug into your own online collection. Instead please link to the relevant page in the collection, or cut and past the text you wish to reference into your own pages.

If you are a student doing research here is how to cite an article:

Adams, Deborah Kay. "The Spring Storm," The perimeter of poetry and words
http://lometa.blogspot.com/
Accessed February 10, 2005

The Spring Storm

Sour Grapes (1921)
by
William Carlos Williams




The Spring Storm



The sky has given over
its bitterness.
Out of the dark change
all day long
rain falls and falls
as if it would never end.
Still the snow keeps
its hold on the ground.
But water, water is seething
from a thousand runnels.
It collects swiftly,
dappled with black
cuts a way for itself
through green ice in the gutters.
Drop after drop it falls
from the withered grass stems
of the overhanging embankment.



Public domain text taken from The Poets' Corner


Wednesday, February 09, 2005

The Cold Night

Sour Grapes (1921)
by
William Carlos Williams

The Cold Night

It is cold. The white moon
is up among her scattered stars--
like the bare thighs of
the Police Sergeant's wife--among
her five children . . .
No answer. Pale shadows lie upon
the frosted grass. One answer:
It is midnight, it is still
and it is cold . . . !
White thighs of the sky! a
new answer out of the depths of
my male belly: In April . . .
In April I shall see again--In April!
the round and perfects thighs
of the Police Sergeant's wife
perfect still after many babies.
Oya!

Sources:

Public domain text taken from The Poets' Corner

Tuesday, February 08, 2005

Complaint

Sour Grapes (1921)
by
William Carlos Williams




They call me and I go.
It is a frozen road
past midnight, a dust
of snow caught
in the rigid wheeltracks.
The door opens.
I smile, enter and
shake off the cold.
Here is a great woman
on her side in the bed.
She is sick,
perhaps vomiting,
perhaps laboring
to give birth to
a tenth child. Joy! Joy!
Night is a room
darkened for lovers,
through the jalousies the sun
has sent one golden needle!
I pick the hair from her eyes
and watch her misery
with compassion.

--William Carlos Williams



Sources:

Public domain text taken from The Poet's Corner

Monday, February 07, 2005

Winter Trees

Sour Grapes (1921)
by
William Carlos Williams

Winter Trees

All the complicated details
of the attiring and
the disattiring are completed!
A liquid moon
moves gently among
the long branches.
Thus having prepared their buds
against a sure winter
the wise trees
stand sleeping in the cold.

Sources:

Public domain text taken from The Poets' Corner