The Wreck on the A-222 in Ravensbourne Valley

By Jonathan Williams 1929–2008 Jonathan Williams

There are more things to love                              
than we would dare to hope for.           
—Richard of St. Victor 

where the car hit him, fireweed sprang with
blazons of fennel
and umbels
of dill fell
through the spokes of a wheel
on Whistun holiday to the sun, Denton
Welch spun a web in his crushed cycle,
sat in the seat, spine curled up like a spider—
and spied: “saw
                 the very drops of sweat glittering frostily
                 between the shoulder blades”
                 of a lad
…on and on he spied and bled from the blades of his cycle,
small as a spider,
hiding in the fireweed, getting
wet from the skins of many human suns aground
at the Kentish river near
Tunbridge Wells,
where the dill
and all boys

Jonathan Williams, "The Wreck of the A-222 in Ravensbourne Valley" from Jubilant Thicket: New & Selected Poems. Copyright © 2005 by Jonathan Williams.  Reprinted by permission of Copper Canyon Press.

Source: Jubilant Thicket: New & Selected Poems (Copper Canyon Press, 2005)

Discover this poem’s context and related poetry, articles, and media.

Poet Jonathan Williams 1929–2008

POET’S REGION U.S., Southern

SCHOOL / PERIOD Black Mountain

Subjects Living, Death, Time & Brevity, Youth


Founder of the Jargon Society and publisher of Jargon Press, Jonathan Williams was born in Asheville, North Carolina. He attended St. Albans School in Washington, DC, and then Princeton University before dropping out to attend the Chicago Institute of Design and Black Mountain College. A photographer and graphic artist, his books include An Ear in Bartram’s Tree: Selected Poems, 1957-1967 (1969), Strung Out with Elgar on a . . .

Continue reading this biography

Poem Categorization

SUBJECT Living, Death, Time & Brevity, Youth

POET’S REGION U.S., Southern

SCHOOL / PERIOD Black Mountain

Report a problem with this poem

Originally appeared in Poetry magazine.

This poem has learning resources.

This poem is good for children.

This poem has related video.

This poem has related audio.