In Honor of William Carlos Williams

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And in the wake of National Poetry Writing Month.

Here is a poem by our very own Linda Lambert

 

But first…

The Red Wheelbarrow (1923)

by William Carlos Williams

 

so much depends

upon

 

a red wheel

barrow

 

glazed with rain

water                                                         

 

beside the white
chickens.

 

FOR THE RED WHEELBARROW WRITING GROUP* by Linda Lambert

 

Standing before you:

four couplets

of our namesake poem,

a single declarative

sentence.

No capital letters,

no punctuation,

except for that annoying

final period.

 

Then those lines forcing pauses.

and the disparate subjects:

a lonely wheelbarrow,

(a common object)

beautified by rain,

plus a few  chickens,

(social creatures)

next to a farmer’s equipment.

 

Think about this poem

cinematically,** in which

we readers are prodded

to change perspective.

The wheelbarrow is a close-up.

The rainwater glaze,

an extreme close up.

The wheelbarrow, combined with the chickens, a wide angle view.

 

I can see the poem as a painting,

as Williams’ painter mother

might have seen it,

a still life with implied action,

and the color red,

a contrast to the color white.

 

Williams wrote this poem, he said,

because it gave him pleasure.

Laughing, he explained:

“Then I thought about it

and I wondered what it meant.”**

 

Ninety-two years later,

after explications by many pens,

we continue to think and wonder,

remaining captivated.

 

————————————————-

* http://www.redwheelbarrowwriters.com/

 

**an idea suggested by X.J. Kennedy in the Winter 2001 issue of Explicator

 

***from a radio interview of William Carlos Williams by Mary Margaret McBride in 1950

One Response to “In Honor of William Carlos Williams”

  1. Susan Chase-Foster

    Nearly wept when you read this at our social, Linda. Thank you for writing this remarkable poem!

    Reply

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