Friday, December 05, 2008

The Rose is Obsolete by William Carlos Williams

As I've written here before, Williams' power stems from his imagery, his clarity of language, and the "energy" he creates using line breaks. This poem is about what the rose has come to symbolize and what it really is.

The Rose is Obsolete

The rose is obsolete
but each petal ends in
an edge, the double facet
cementing the grooved
columns of air--The edge
cuts without cutting
meets--nothing--renewsitself in metal or porcelain--

whither? It ends--

But if it ends
the start is begun
so that to engage roses
becomes a geometry--

Sharper, neater, more cutting
figured in majolica--
the broken plate
glazed with a rose

Somewhere the sense
makes copper roses
steel roses--
The rose carried weight of love
but love is at an end--of roses

It is at the edge of the
petal that love waits

Crisp, worked to defeat
laboredness--fragile
plucked, moist, half-raised
cold, precise, touching

What

The place between the petal's
edge and the

From the petal's edge a line starts
that being of steel
infinitely fine, infinitely
rigid penetrates
the Milky Way
without contact--lifting
from it--neither hanging
nor pushing--

The fragility of the flower
unbruised
penetrates space



William Carlos Williams was born in Rutherford, New Jersey, in 1883. He was a practicing doctor, and a principal poet of the Imagist movement, which stressed precision of imagery, and clear, sharp language.

10 Comments:

Blogger Leenie said...

Thanks for making us aware of another great poem. I especially like the imagery and the organization of words.

10:44 PM  
Blogger nelliemaeii said...

I really like William Carlos Williams...thanks for another great poem this week!

1:11 AM  
Blogger gmoke said...

The little book of interviews with Williams and his wife, _I Wanted to Write a Poem_, is great. Williams' trilogy of novels about his wife's life and family is very good too.

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Blogger Jay Bird said...

Is that in fact the end of the poem? It appears something was cut off at the last line

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