‘Spring and All’ by William Carlos Williams

A regular contributor offered these photos of Spring and suggested the following from the volume of poems by William Carlos Williams, published in 1923, was a fitting accompaniment for the photos and for our time.

Spring and All

By the road to the contagious hospital
under the surge of the blue
mottled clouds driven from the
northeast — a cold wind. Beyond, the
waste of broad, muddy fields
brown with dried weeds, standing and fallen

patches of standing water
the scattering of tall trees

All along the road the reddish
purplish, forked, upstanding, twiggy
stuff of bushes and small trees
with dead, brown leaves under them
leafless vines —

Lifeless in appearance, sluggish
dazed spring approaches —

They enter the new world naked,
cold, uncertain of all
save that they enter. All about them
the cold, familiar wind —

Now the grass, tomorrow
the stiff curl of wildcarrot leaf

One by one objects are defined —
It quickens: clarity, outline of leaf

But now the stark dignity of
entrance — Still, the profound change
has come upon them: rooted they
grip down and begin to awaken

William Carlos Williams

2 Responses to ‘Spring and All’ by William Carlos Williams

  1. Emily Ferrara says:

    Lovely post – William Carlos Williams is one of my favorite literary docs from history. I also love the work of Boston-based doctor-poet Rafael Campo, who began practicing medicine during the HIV/AIDS crisis. His work is packed with empathy. He even prescribes poems to his patients!

  2. Frank Wagner says:

    I discovered William Carlos Williams while taking creative writing in college. So much was difficult to understand but I read on. I learned how to see his imagery and let him draw a picture of words. This is a great example.