William Carlos Williams is a hard poet to understand, his poems have a deceptive simplicity. They don’t seem to be saying anything at all. Yet somehow I still really love them. They very quietly paint a portrait of a place, or a time, or feeling without any frills – just the naked essence of that which was before him.
I also like that Williams wasn’t a poet as his primary profession, but a doctor. This is the type of thing that most writers today can relate to as “the business” hardly favors the writer, too often are we ignored or under-paid or stolen from (and then told that we make too much off of our work – if only they knew). There are stories of Williams jotting down quick poems on the back of prescriptions, and one famous poem of his is just a note that he left for his wife.
They aren’t deep and introspective. They don’t challenge the current political, social or philosophical state of humanity; they’re mundane. They’re just a portrait of the simple and an appreciation of that. I think that for all our grand ideals of what we want the world to be, what we crave, what we desire (“oh, I’ll finally be happy when I’ve purchased X, Y and Z”), I think that it is the appreciation and adoration of the simple things in our lives that actually bring us the most happiness.
The Red Wheelbarrow
by William Carlos Williams
so much depends
a red wheel
glazed with rain
beside the white