Tuesday, January 1, 2008

The Pink Locust, a poem by William Carlos Williams

I'm persistent as the pink locust, once admitted

to the garden, you will not easily get rid of it.

Tear it from the ground, if one hair-thin rootlet

remain it will come again.It is flattering to think of myself

so. It is also laughable.

A modest flower, resembling a pink sweet-pea, you cannot help

but admire it until its habits become known.

Are we not most of us like that? It would be too much

if the public pried among the minutiae of our private affairs.

Not that we have anything to hide but could they

stand it? Of course the world would be gratified to find out

what fools we have made of ourselves. The question is, would they be generous with us- as we have been with others? It is, I say, a flower incredibly resilient

under attack! Neglect it and it will grow into a tree.

I wish I could so think of myself and of what is to become of me.

The poet himself, what does he think of himself facing his world?

It will not do to say, as he is inclined to say: Not much. The poem

would be in that betrayed. He might as well answer- "a rose is a rose

is a rose" and let it go at that. A rose is a rose and the poem equals it

if it be well made. The poet cannot slight himself without slighting his poem- which would be ridiculous. Life offers no greater reward. And so, like this flower, I persist- for what there may be in it. I am not, I know, in the galaxy of poets a rose but who, among the rest, will deny me

my place.

1 comment:

Gil Hoy said...
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