Postlude

By William Carlos Williams 1883–1963
Now that I have cooled to you
Let there be gold of tarnished masonry,
Temples soothed by the sun to ruin   
That sleep utterly.
Give me hand for the dances,            
Ripples at Philae, in and out,         
And lips, my Lesbian,         
Wall flowers that once were flame.         

Your hair is my Carthage         
And my arms the bow,         
And our words arrows         
To shoot the stars         
Who from that misty sea         
Swarm to destroy us.         

But you there beside me—         
Oh how shall I defy you,         
Who wound me in the night         
With breasts shining         
Like Venus and like Mars?         
The night that is shouting Jason         
When the loud eaves rattle         
As with waves above me         
Blue at the prow of my desire.

"Postlude" by William Carlos Williams, from The Collected Poems of William Carlos Williams, Volume I, 1909-1939,© 1938 by New Directions Publishing Corp. Reprinted by permission of New Directions Corp.

Source: Poetry (June 1913).

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This poem originally appeared in the June 1913 issue of Poetry magazine

June 1913
 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 Living, Love, Heroes & Patriotism, Time & Brevity, Relationships, Mythology & Folklore, Break-ups & Vexed Love, Realistic & Complicated

POET’S REGION U.S., Mid-Atlantic

SCHOOL / PERIOD Imagist

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