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Wednesday, 15 January 2014

William Carlos Williams: To a Woman Seen Once


Untitled: photo by  † Jack Davison, 9 January 2012

No one is lovely
but you alone

a green branch
fallen into the sea

that was jostled
and broken to be

returned after
certain years all

and strength from

that mold -- I
am through with you.

William Carlos Williams (1883-1963): To a Woman Seen Once, 1940, from Poems 1939-1944 in The Collected Poems, Vol. 2 1939-1962 (1988)

Portrait of Giovanni Arnolfini: Jan van Eyck, c. 1435, oil on oak, 29 x 20 cm (Staatliche Museen, Berlin)


ACravan said...

The deceptive simplicity and beauty of what you and the other artists have done here is wonderful and rescued me from the sea of unhappy, dissatisfied thoughts where I was until I encountered it. Curtis

TC said...

I thought perhaps there might be a sort of ironic volte-face or shifting of viewpoint, approximately equivalent in structural terms to the surprising reversal and revision of judgment that happens at the end of the poem, in the suggestion (made, of course, or more accurately implied, by way of the images) that the returned gaze of the speaker falls upon the crafty prince... and sees right through him.

Anonymous said...

I wonder, though, if there the end of the poem is in fact a revision or reversal, and not a perverse, let's not say 'natural', effect of beauty achieved, incorporated, sapped, and done for -- the life-cycle of consumption.

A moody take, perhaps, and not indicative of a lack of appreciation.

Mose23 said...

The force comes from that colloquial brevity in the last phrase. That finely wrought metaphorical image scrawled over with fuck you plainness.

It brought "In a Station of the Metro" to mind.

I love Van Eyck very much.

Poet Red Shuttleworth said...

Stunning combination, the Davison painting and WCW's poem. Lovely... in a puzzling sort of way. For are we ever done with beauty?

Nin Andrews said...

I think at a certain point
as depicted here
one is through with "you."
I love this.

vazambam (Vassilis Zambaras) said...

A perfect example of why someone is never through with WCW.