Featured Poem: Shadows

Shadows by William Carlos Williams

I

Shadows cast by the street light

under the stars,

the head is tilted back,

the long shadows of the legs

presumes a world

taken for granted

on which the cricket trills.

The hollows of the eyes

are unpeopled.

Right and left

climb the ladders of night

as dawn races

to put out the stars.

That

is the poetic figure

but we know

better: what is not now

will never

be. Sleep secure,

the little dog in the snapshot

keeps his shrewd eyes

pared. Memory

is liver than sight.

A man

looking out,

seeing the shadows-

it is himself

that can be painlessly amputated

by a mere shifting

of the stars.

A comfort so easily not to be

and to be at once one

with every man.

The night blossoms

with a thousand shadows

so long

as there are stars,

street lights

or a moon and

who shall say

by their shadows

which is different

from the other

fat or lean.

II.

Ripped from the concept of our lives

and from all concept

somehow, and plainly,

the sun will come up

each morning

and sink again.

So that we experience

violently

every day

two worlds

one of which we share with the

rose in bloom

and one,

by far the greater,

with the past,

the world of memory,

the silly world of history,

the world

of the imagination.

Which leaves only the beasts and trees,

crystals

with their refractice

surfaces

and rotting things

to stir our wonder.

Save for the little

central hole

of the eye itself

into which

we dare not stare too hard

or we are lost.

The instant

trivial as it is

is all we have

unless—unless

things the imagination feeds upon,

the scent of the rose, startle us anew.

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