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Best Famous William Carlos (WCW) Williams Poems

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Written by William Carlos (WCW) Williams | Create an image from this poem

A Celebration

 A middle-northern March, now as always— 
gusts from the South broken against cold winds— 
but from under, as if a slow hand lifted a tide, 
it moves—not into April—into a second March, 

the old skin of wind-clear scales dropping 
upon the mold: this is the shadow projects the tree 
upward causing the sun to shine in his sphere.
So we will put on our pink felt hat—new last year! —newer this by virtue of brown eyes turning back the seasons—and let us walk to the orchid-house, see the flowers will take the prize tomorrow at the Palace.
Stop here, these are our oleanders.
When they are in bloom— You would waste words It is clearer to me than if the pink were on the branch.
It would be a searching in a colored cloud to reveal that which now, huskless, shows the very reason for their being.
And these the orange-trees, in blossom—no need to tell with this weight of perfume in the air.
If it were not so dark in this shed one could better see the white.
It is that very perfume has drawn the darkness down among the leaves.
Do I speak clearly enough? It is this darkness reveals that which darkness alone loosens and sets spinning on waxen wings— not the touch of a finger-tip, not the motion of a sigh.
A too heavy sweetness proves its own caretaker.
And here are the orchids! Never having seen such gaiety I will read these flowers for you: This is an odd January, died—in Villon's time.
Snow, this is and this the stain of a violet grew in that place the spring that foresaw its own doom.
And this, a certain July from Iceland: a young woman of that place breathed it toward the South.
It took root there.
The color ran true but the plant is small.
This falling spray of snow-flakes is a handful of dead Februaries prayed into flower by Rafael Arevalo Martinez of Guatemala.
Here's that old friend who went by my side so many years: this full, fragile head of veined lavender.
Oh that April that we first went with our stiff lusts leaving the city behind, out to the green hill— May, they said she was.
A hand for all of us: this branch of blue butterflies tied to this stem.
June is a yellow cup I'll not name; August the over-heavy one.
And here are— russet and shiny, all but March.
And March? Ah, March— Flowers are a tiresome pastime.
One has a wish to shake them from their pots root and stem, for the sun to gnaw.
Walk out again into the cold and saunter home to the fire.
This day has blossomed long enough.
I have wiped out the red night and lit a blaze instead which will at least warm our hands and stir up the talk.
I think we have kept fair time.
Time is a green orchard.

Written by William Carlos (WCW) Williams | Create an image from this poem

The Ivy Crown

 The whole process is a lie,
 crowned by excess,
It break forcefully,
 one way or another,
 from its confinement—
or find a deeper well.
Antony and Cleopatra were right; they have shown the way.
I love you or I do not live at all.
Daffodil time is past.
This is summer, summer! the heart says, and not even the full of it.
No doubts are permitted— though they will come and may before our time overwhelm us.
We are only mortal but being mortal can defy our fate.
We may by an outside chance even win! We do not look to see jonquils and violets come again but there are, still, the roses! Romance has no part in it.
The business of love is cruelty which, by our wills, we transform to live together.
It has its seasons, for and against, whatever the heart fumbles in the dark to assert toward the end of May.
Just as the nature of briars is to tear flesh, I have proceeded through them.
Keep the briars out, they say.
You cannot live and keep free of briars.
Children pick flowers.
Let them.
Though having them in hand they have no further use for them but leave them crumpled at the curb's edge.
At our age the imagination across the sorry facts lifts us to make roses stand before thorns.
Sure love is cruel and selfish and totally obtuse— at least, blinded by the light, young love is.
But we are older, I to love and you to be loved, we have, no matter how, by our wills survived to keep the jeweled prize always at our finger tips.
We will it so and so it is past all accident.
Written by William Carlos (WCW) Williams | Create an image from this poem

Poem (As the cat)

 As the cat
climbed over
the top of

the jamcloset
first the right

then the hind
stepped down
into the pit of
the empty
Written by William Carlos (WCW) Williams | Create an image from this poem

To Elsie

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

or the ribbed north end of
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
but flutter and flaunt

sheer rags-succumbing without
save numbed terror

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

Unless it be that marriage
with a dash of Indian blood

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

that she'll be rescued by an
reared by the state and

sent out at 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
and rich young men with fine eyes

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

and we degraded prisoners
to hunger until we eat filth

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

the stifling heat of September
it seems to destroy us

It is only in isolate flecks that
is given off

No one
to witness
and adjust, no one to drive the car
Written by William Carlos (WCW) Williams | Create an image from this poem

A Sort Of A Song

 Let the snake wait under
his weed
and the writing
be of words, slow and quick, sharp
to strike, quiet to wait,
—through metaphor to reconcile the people and the stones.
(No ideas but in things) Invent! Saxifrage is my flower that splits the rocks.

Written by William Carlos (WCW) Williams | Create an image from this poem

from Asphodel That Greeny Flower

 Of asphodel, that greeny flower,
 like a buttercup
 upon its branching stem-
save that it's green and wooden-
 I come, my sweet,
 to sing to you.
We lived long together a life filled, if you will, with flowers.
So that I was cheered when I came first to know that there were flowers also in hell.
Today I'm filled with the fading memory of those flowers that we both loved, even to this poor colorless thing- I saw it when I was a child- little prized among the living but the dead see, asking among themselves: What do I remember that was shaped as this thing is shaped? while our eyes fill with tears.
Of love, abiding love it will be telling though too weak a wash of crimson colors it to make it wholly credible.
There is something something urgent I have to say to you and you alone but it must wait while I drink in the joy of your approach, perhaps for the last time.
And so with fear in my heart I drag it out and keep on talking for I dare not stop.
Listen while I talk on against time.
It will not be for long.
I have forgot and yet I see clearly enough something central to the sky which ranges round it.
An odor springs from it! A sweetest odor! Honeysuckle! And now there comes the buzzing of a bee! and a whole flood of sister memories! Only give me time, time to recall them before I shall speak out.
Give me time, time.
When I was a boy I kept a book to which, from time to time, I added pressed flowers until, after a time, I had a good collection.
The asphodel, forebodingly, among them.
I bring you, reawakened, a memory of those flowers.
They were sweet when I pressed them and retained something of their sweetness a long time.
It is a curious odor, a moral odor, that brings me near to you.
The color was the first to go.
There had come to me a challenge, your dear self, mortal as I was, the lily's throat to the hummingbird! Endless wealth, I thought, held out its arms to me.
A thousand tropics in an apple blossom.
The generous earth itself gave us lief.
The whole world became my garden! But the sea which no one tends is also a garden when the sun strikes it and the waves are wakened.
I have seen it and so have you when it puts all flowers to shame.
Too, there are the starfish stiffened by the sun and other sea wrack and weeds.
We knew that along with the rest of it for we were born by the sea, knew its rose hedges to the very water's brink.
There the pink mallow grows and in their season strawberries and there, later, we went to gather the wild plum.
I cannot say that I have gone to hell for your love but often found myself there in your pursuit.
I do not like it and wanted to be in heaven.
Hear me out.
Do not turn away.
I have learned much in my life from books and out of them about love.
Death is not the end of it.
There is a hierarchy which can be attained, I think, in its service.
Its guerdon is a fairy flower; a cat of twenty lives.
If no one came to try it the world would be the loser.
It has been for you and me as one who watches a storm come in over the water.
We have stood from year to year before the spectacle of our lives with joined hands.
The storm unfolds.
Lightning plays about the edges of the clouds.
The sky to the north is placid, blue in the afterglow as the storm piles up.
It is a flower that will soon reach the apex of its bloom.
We danced, in our minds, and read a book together.
You remember? It was a serious book.
And so books entered our lives.
The sea! The sea! Always when I think of the sea there comes to mind the Iliad and Helen's public fault that bred it.
Were it not for that there would have been no poem but the world if we had remembered, those crimson petals spilled among the stones, would have called it simply murder.
The sexual orchid that bloomed then sending so many disinterested men to their graves has left its memory to a race of fools or heroes if silence is a virtue.
The sea alone with its multiplicity holds any hope.
The storm has proven abortive but we remain after the thoughts it roused to re-cement our lives.
It is the mind the mind that must be cured short of death's intervention, and the will becomes again a garden.
The poem is complex and the place made in our lives for the poem.
Silence can be complex too, but you do not get far with silence.
Begin again.
It is like Homer's catalogue of ships: it fills up the time.
I speak in figures, well enough, the dresses you wear are figures also, we could not meet otherwise.
When I speak of flowers it is to recall that at one time we were young.
All women are not Helen, I know that, but have Helen in their hearts.
My sweet, you have it also, therefore I love you and could not love you otherwise.
Imagine you saw a field made up of women all silver-white.
What should you do but love them? The storm bursts or fades! it is not the end of the world.
Love is something else, or so I thought it, a garden which expands, though I knew you as a woman and never thought otherwise, until the whole sea has been taken up and all its gardens.
It was the love of love, the love that swallows up all else, a grateful love, a love of nature, of people, of animals, a love engendering gentleness and goodness that moved me and that I saw in you.
I should have known, though I did not, that the lily-of-the-valley is a flower makes many ill who whiff it.
We had our children, rivals in the general onslaught.
I put them aside though I cared for them.
as well as any man could care for his children according to my lights.
You understand I had to meet you after the event and have still to meet you.
Love to which you too shall bow along with me- a flower a weakest flower shall be our trust and not because we are too feeble to do otherwise but because at the height of my power I risked what I had to do, therefore to prove that we love each other while my very bones sweated that I could not cry to you in the act.
Of asphodel, that greeny flower, I come, my sweet, to sing to you! My heart rouses thinking to bring you news of something that concerns you and concerns many men.
Look at what passes for the new.
You will not find it there but in despised poems.
It is difficult to get the news from poems yet men die miserably every day for lack of what is found there.
Hear me out for I too am concerned and every man who wants to die at peace in his bed besides.
Written by William Carlos (WCW) Williams | Create an image from this poem

April Is The Saddest Month

 There they were
dog and *****
halving the compass

Then when with his yip
they parted
oh how frolicsome

she grew before him
dancing and
how disconsolate

he retreated
she following
through the shrubbery
Written by William Carlos (WCW) Williams | Create an image from this poem

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.
Written by William Carlos (WCW) Williams | Create an image from this poem

Light Hearted William

 Light hearted William twirled 
his November moustaches 
and, half dressed, looked
from the bedroom window
upon the spring weather.
Heigh-ya! sighed he gaily leaning out to see up and down the street where a heavy sunlight lay beyond some blue shadows.
Into the room he drew his head again and laughed to himself quietly twirling his green moustaches.
Written by William Carlos (WCW) Williams | Create an image from this poem

Landscape With The Fall Of Icarus

 According to Brueghel
when Icarus fell
it was spring

a farmer was ploughing
his field
the whole pageantry

of the year was
awake tingling

the edge of the sea
with itself

sweating in the sun
that melted
the wings' wax

off the coast
there was

a splash quite unnoticed
this was
Icarus drowning

Book: Reflection on the Important Things