The Widow’s Lament in Springtime

By William Carlos Williams 1883–1963
Sorrow is my own yard
where the new grass
flames as it has flamed
often before, but not
with the cold fire
that closes round me this year.
Thirty-five years
I lived with my husband.
The plum tree is white today
with masses of flowers.
Masses of flowers
load the cherry branches
and color some bushes
yellow and some red,
but the grief in my heart
is stronger than they,
for though they were my joy
formerly, today I notice them
and turn away forgetting.
Today my son told me
that in the meadows,
at the edge of the heavy woods
in the distance, he saw
trees of white flowers.
I feel that I would like
to go there
and fall into those flowers
and sink into the marsh near them.

William Carlos Williams, “The Widow’s Lament in Springtime” from The Collected Poems of William Carlos Williams, Volume I, 1909-1939, edited by Christopher MacGowan. Copyright 1938, 1944, 1945 by William Carlos Williams. Reprinted with the permission of New Directions Publishing Corporation.

Source: Poetry (January 1922).

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Poet William Carlos Williams 1883–1963

POET’S REGION U.S., Mid-Atlantic

SCHOOL / PERIOD Imagist

Subjects Spring, Living, Nature, Marriage & Companionship, Trees & Flowers, Sorrow & Grieving, Death

Occasions Funerals

Poetic Terms Free Verse