Friday, March 05, 2021

Poetry Friday: William Carlos Williams, Spring and All

Atticus suggested this one last week but I was in a Billy Collins mood. (Honestly, though, when am I not in a Billy Collins mood?) This week, though, felt like a spring-and-all week, with its combination of blue and cloudy skies, chilly winds, a March thaw, and the promise of quickening. 

Spring and All (By the road to the contagious hospital) 


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

(Read the rest here, at 


Be sure to congratulate her on her latest picture book, The Bird in the Herd


Ruth said...

This really captures the feeling of March up north. Brr. Hope you get warm weather soon!

KatApel - said...

How beautiful. I especially love the last three verses. They just build and flow and surprise and satisfy.

Bridget Magee said...

Oooh, I'm not familiar with this WCW poem. Thank you for venturing "by the road to the contagious hospital"...(that line takes on a new meaning these days, doesn't it?)

Mary Lee said...

Thank you for this new-to-me now-a-favorite spring poem! He gets it SO right. "The stark dignity of entrance." Yes. THAT is the first moment of spring.

Linda B said...

This is new to me, too, Karen, & what a beautiful celebration he has quietly written. I love that he knows & we do, too, "It quickens: clarity, outline of leaf". Thank you!

Heidi Mordhorst said...

Hi, Karen--yes, thanks for this!
He dwells and dwells and dwells on the dead details and then
"uncertain of all
save that they enter...
they grip down"
We ARE optimists, we poets!

Janice Scully said...

I love how Willams so patiently goes through the details in the coming of spring, what he sees on the way. It's a perfect poem.

Kay said...

William captures the essence of spring this week for us. I've been driving by those muddy fields on my way to work.

mbhmaine said...

I love "dazed spring approaches" and that finally gripping and all the specific details throughout. What a picture Williams paints! Thanks for sharing this new-to-me poem.

Karen Edmisten said...

So pleased to introduce some of you to this one! Here's to spring! :)

Fran Haley said...

That poem is perfect for these days, Karen - I feel I am looking right out of my window, seeing this exact scene painted by WCW as I read.