Friday, March 18, 2011

Verse of the Day - Willliam Carlos Williams

At last. A poem I taught in my brief and unsuccessful career as an English teacher. Or at least a poem I tried to teach.

I tried to teach them imagery and all, but they weren't interested. They weren't interested in a load of old dead plants. Nobody even remarked on the fact the poem is inherently desolate in places and spring is a fragile creation. But it's there and it's about to uncoil like the stiff curl of wildcarrot leaf.

Spring and All by William Carlos Williams

By the road to the contagious hospital
under the surge of the blue
mottled clouds driven from the
northeast—a cold wind. Beyond, the
waste of broad, muddy fields
brown with dried weeds, standing and fallen

patches of standing water
the scattering of tall trees

All along the road the reddish
purplish, forked, upstanding, twiggy
stuff of bushes and small trees
with dead, brown leaves under them
leafless vines—

Lifeless in appearance, sluggish
dazed spring approaches—

They enter the new world naked,
cold, uncertain of all
save that they enter. All about them
the cold, familiar wind—

Now the grass, tomorrow
the stiff curl of wildcarrot leaf

One by one objects are defined—
It quickens: clarity, outline of leaf
But now the stark dignity of
entrance—Still, the profound change
has come upon them: rooted they
grip down and begin to awaken


  1. That photograph is beautiful! The first stanza kind of depressed me (muddy) but I was cheered up in the last (awakening...)

  2. glad you like it Samantha - hope France is treating you well.