From the Desk of William Carlos Williams:
Notes Toward a Speech in Three Parts


Thrown from the chalky cliffs
of death: another birth, and another,
everyone for the moment striving
and well, doing their jobs, or doing
nothing, stung deadpan, waiting,
plopped between one world and some stark
other, the dazed infant inching
up mother’s belly, stuck
between that loved breast
and the softly spasming cord.


Drops down, another dusk. Useless
the cloudless sky, the scant flight
of stars. Defeat after such dull
defeat. We are beset
by privilege and woe. We are
divided but no different.
Who will save us? Who will say
all’s decided, that, at last,
all’s decidedly swell?


Beware the experiment found ingrowing
on the shelf. What is it but life
in want of greater means?
What is it but the crutch of self-love
searching for a wafer-thin faith?

Propped in a deadening appetite
of ease, I recall the quick comedy
of a demonstrating woman
(headstrong... underfoot)
caught by local news, surrounded
by a blue line of courtesy.
To the camera, that escorting cop:
“Your heroes all are dead.
Or should be.”

_ The poem is an anagram of W.C. Williams’s
“Spring and All” and “This Is Just to Say.”

Mike Smith | Mudlark No. 30
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