Kora in Hell: Improvisations XXVII

By William Carlos Williams 1883–1963
XXVII
 
1
 
     This particular thing, whether it be four pinches of four divers white powders cleverly compounded to cure surely, safely, pleasantly a painful twitching of the eyelids or say a pencil sharpened at one end, dwarfs the imagination, makes logic a butterfly, offers a finality that sends us spinning through space, a fixity the mind could climb forever, a revolving mountain, a complexity with a surface of glass; the gist of poetry. D.C. al fin.
 
2
 
     There is no thing that with a twist of the imagination cannot be something else. Porpoises risen in a green sea, the wind at nightfall bending the rose-red grasses and you—in your apron running to catch—say it seems to you to be your son. How ridiculous! You will pass up into a cloud and look back at me, not count the scribbling foolish that puts wings to your heels, at your knees.
 
3
 
     Sooner or later as with the leaves forgotten the swinging branch long since and summer: they scurry before a wind on the frost-baked ground—have no place to rest—somehow invoke a burst of warm days not of the past nothing decayed: crisp summer!—neither a copse for resurrected frost eaters but a summer removed   undestroyed a summer of dried leaves scurrying with a screech, to and fro in the half dark—twittering, chattering, scraping. Hagh!
 
________________
 
     Seeing the leaves dropping from the high and low branches the thought rise: this day of all others is the one chosen, all other days fall away from it on either side and only itself remains in perfect fullness. It is its own summer, of its leaves as they scrape on the smooth ground it must build its perfection. The gross summer of the year is only a halting counterpart of those fiery days of secret triumph which in reality themselves paint the year as if upon a parchment, giving each season a mockery of the warmth or frozenness which is within ourselves. The true seasons blossom or wilt not in fixed order but so that many of them may pass in a few weeks or hours whereas sometimes a whole life passes and the season remains of a piece from one end to the other.

Source: Imaginations (New Directions Publishing Corporation, 1970)

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Poet William Carlos Williams 1883–1963

POET’S REGION U.S., Mid-Atlantic

SCHOOL / PERIOD Imagist

Subjects Living, The Mind, Arts & Sciences, Language & Linguistics, Poetry & Poets, Reading & Books

Poetic Terms Prose Poem

 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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SUBJECT Living, The Mind, Arts & Sciences, Language & Linguistics, Poetry & Poets, Reading & Books

POET’S REGION U.S., Mid-Atlantic

SCHOOL / PERIOD Imagist

Poetic Terms Prose Poem

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Originally appeared in Poetry magazine.

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