October 6, 2016

Of the cradled mind, the restless nights, and petty imageries

Three poems today by William Carlos Williams, from Collected Poems, 1939-1962....

... of the cradled mind, the restless nights, and petty imageries. Oh - all a momentary clatter and a world that is not enough!

Design for Novemberby William Carlos Williams 
Let confusion be the design
and all my thoughts go,
swallowed by desire: recess
from promises in
the November of your arms.
Release from the rose: broken
reeds, strawpale,
through which, from easy
branches that mock the blood
a few leaves fall. There
the mind is cradled,
stripped also and returned
to the ground, a trivial
and momentary clatter. Sleep
and be brought down, and so
condone the world, eased of
the jagged sky and all
its petty imageries, flying
birds, its fogs and windy
phalanxes . . .

The Words Lying Idleby William Carlos Williams 
The fields parched, the leaves
drying on the maples, the birds' beaks
gaping! If it would rain,
if it would only rain! Clouds come up
move from the west and from the south
but they bring no rain. Heat and dry winds
- the grass is curled and brittle underfoot,
and foot leaves it broken. The roads are dust.
But the mind is dust also
and the eyes burn from it. They burn more
from restless nights, from the full moon shining
on a dry earth than from lack of rain.
The rain, if it fell, would ease the mind
more than the grass, the mind would
be somewhat, at least, appeased against
this dryness and the death implied.

The Mind's Gamesby William Carlos Williams  
If a man can say of his life or
any moment of his life, There is
nothing more to be desired! his state
becomes like that told in the famous
double sonnet--but without the
sonnet’s restrictions. Let him go look
at the river flowing or the bank
of late flowers, there will be one
small fly still among the petals
in whose gauzy wings raised above
its back a rainbow shines. The world
to him is radiant and even the fact
of poverty is wholly without despair.
So it seems until these rouse
to him pictures of the systematically
starved--for a purpose, at the mind’s
proposal. What good then the
light winged fly, the flower or
the river--too foul to drink of or
even to bathe in? The 90 story building
beyond the ocean that a rocket
will span for destruction in a matter
of minutes but will not
bring him, in a century, food or
relief of any sort from his suffering.
The world too much with us? Rot!
the world is not half enough with us--
the rot of a potato with
a healthy skin, a rot that is
never revealed till we are about to
eat--and it revolts us. Beauty?
Beauty should make us paupers,
should blind us, rob us--for it
does not feed the sufferer but makes
his suffering a fly-blown putrescence
and ourselves decay--unless
the ecstasy be general.  
I will leave you with this interview with William Carlos Williams from 1950; have not heard it yet but will do so soon.

Not one more refugee death, by Emmy Pérez

And just like that, my #NPM2018 celebrations end with  a poem  today by Emmy Pérez. Not one more refugee death by Emmy Pérez A r...