Tuesday, January 29, 2008

From Paterson, by William Carlos Williams

                              The sun
winding the yellow bindweed about a
bush; worms and gnats, life under a stone.
The pitiful snake with its mosaic skin
and frantic tongue. The horse, the bull
the whole din of fracturing thought
as it falls tinnily to nothing upon the streets
and the absurd dignity of a locomotive
hauling freight—

                          Pithy philosophies of
daily exits and entrances, with books
propping up one end of the shaky table—
The vague accuracies of events dancing two
and two with language which they
forever surpass—and dawns
tangled in darkness—

       The giant in whose apertures we
       cohabit, unaware of what air supports
       us—the vague, the particular
       no less vague

              his thoughts, the stream
     and we, we two, isolated in the stream,
     we also: three alike—

              we sit and talk
     I wish to be with you abed, we two
     as if the bed were the bed of a stream
     —I have much to say to you

              We sit and talk,
     quietly, with long lapses of silence
     and I am aware of the stream
     that has no language, coursing
     beneath the quiet heaven of
     your eyes

              which has no speech; to
     go to bed with you, to pass beyond
     the moment of meeting, while the
     currents float still in mid-air, to
     fall—
     with you from the brink, before
     the crash—

              to seize the moment.

          We sit and talk, sensing a little
     the rushing impact of the giants'
     violent torrent rolling over us, a
     few moments.

              If I should demand it, as
     it has been demanded of others
     and given too swiftly, and you should
     consent. If you would consent

              We sit and talk and the
     silence speaks of the giants
     who have died in the past and have
     returned to those scenes unsatisfied
     and who is not unsatisfied, the
     silent, Singac the rock-shoulder
     emerging from the rocks—and the giants
     live again in your silence and unacknowledged desire—

And the air lying over the water
lifts the ripples, brother
to brother, touching us as the mind touches,
counter-current, upstream
brings in the fields, hot and cold
parallel but never mingling, one that whirls
backward at the brink and curls invisibly
upward, fills the hollow, whirling,
an accompaniment—but apart, observant of
the distress, sweeps down or up clearing
the spray—

         brings in the rumors of separate
worlds, the birds as against the fish, the grape
to the green weed that streams out undulant
with the current at low tide beside the
bramble in blossom, the storm by the flood—
song and wings—

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