Danse Russe

By William Carlos Williams 1883–1963
If I when my wife is sleeping
and the baby and Kathleen
are sleeping
and the sun is a flame-white disc
in silken mists
above shining trees,—
if I in my north room
dance naked, grotesquely
before my mirror
waving my shirt round my head
and singing softly to myself:
“I am lonely, lonely.
I was born to be lonely,
I am best so!”
If I admire my arms, my face,
my shoulders, flanks, buttocks
against the yellow drawn shades,—

Who shall say I am not
the happy genius of my household?

William Carlos Williams, “Danse Russe” 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.

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Poet William Carlos Williams 1883–1963

POET’S REGION U.S., Mid-Atlantic

SCHOOL / PERIOD Imagist

Subjects Relationships, Home Life, Family & Ancestors

Holidays Father's Day

Poetic Terms Free Verse

 William Carlos Williams

Biography

William Carlos Williams has always been known as an experimenter, an innovator, a revolutionary figure in American poetry. Yet in comparison to artists of his own time who sought a new environment for creativity as expatriates in Europe, Williams lived a remarkably conventional life. A doctor for more than forty years serving the New Jersey town of Rutherford, he relied on his patients, the America around him, and his own . . .

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Poem Categorization

SUBJECT Relationships, Home Life, Family & Ancestors

POET’S REGION U.S., Mid-Atlantic

SCHOOL / PERIOD Imagist

Poetic Terms Free Verse

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Originally appeared in Poetry magazine.

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