Thursday, July 10, 2008

"until the whole field is a white desire..."

Queen-Anne’s Lace
by William Carlos Williams

Her body is not so white as
anemony petals nor so smooth—nor
so remote a thing. It is a field
of the wild carrot taking
the field by force; the grass
does not raise above it.
Here is no question of whiteness,
white as can be, with a purple mole
at the center of each flower.
Each flower is a hand’s span
of her whiteness. Wherever
his hand has lain there is
a tiny purple blemish. Each part
is a blossom under his touch
to which the fibres of her being
stem one by one, each to its end,
until the whole field is a
white desire, empty, a single stem,
a cluster, flower by flower,
a pious wish to whiteness gone over—
or nothing.

From The Collected Poems of William Carlos Williams, Volume I, 1909-1939. Text via Poetry Foundation.

Woman on a Black Divan, Jean-Jacques Henner, 1865. Image from Wikimedia Commons.


Anonymous said...

How do you do this day after day? I love it. Reminds me of Wilbur's poem "Fern-Beds In Hampshire County." Wonderful stuff.

BitterGrace said...

So glad you enjoy, Bozo. I don't remember that Wilbur poem, but I'm off to find it. I love Wilbur.

chayaruchama said...

A thing of great grace and beauty-
I just love these couplings.