Monday, July 6, 2015

The Forgotten Man Behind William Carlos Williams’s ‘Red Wheelbarrow’ - The New York Times

William Carlos Williams was a physician, a caring man, who examined patients the old fashioned way: listening, touching.  His plain and powerful poetry demonstrates those virtues and talents.  The three poems below, old favorites of mine, show his empathy.   William Logan, a Florida English professor who cared, has tracked down the owner of the red wheelbarrow of which Dr. Williams wrote.

 On July 18, in a moment of belated poetic justice, a stone will be laid on the otherwise unmarked grave of Thaddeus Marshall, an African-American street vendor from Rutherford, N.J., noting his unsung contribution to American literature.

The Forgotten Man Behind William Carlos Williams’s ‘Red Wheelbarrow’ - The New York Times by Jennifer Schleussler



William Carlos Williams, 1883 - 1963

so much depends
upon

a red wheel
barrow

glazed with rain
water



munching a plum on
the street a paper bag 
of them in her hand 

They taste good to her
They taste good
to her. They taste
good to her

You can see it by 
the way she gives herself 
to the one half 
sucked out in her hand 

Comforted 
a solace of ripe plums 
seeming to fill the air 
They taste good to her

An Exercise 

Sick as I am
confused in the head
I mean I have

endured this April
so far
visiting friends

returning home
late at night
I saw
a huge negro
a dirty collar
about his

enormous neck
appeared to be
choking

him
I did not know
whether or not

he saw me though
he was sitting
directly

before me how
shall we 
escape this modern

age
and learn
to breathe again

William Carlos Williams
William Carlos Williams