Wide World of Quotes > William Carlos Williams Quotes

William Carlos Williams
American poet

Share this page:

I will teach you my townspeople
how to perform a funeral
for you to have it over a troop
of artists --
unless one should scour the world --
you have the ground sense necessary.
-- 'Tract' in: Al Que Quiere! (1917)

Covertly the hands of a great clock
go round and round! Were they to
move quickly and at once the whole
secret would be out and the shuffling
of all ants be doe forever
-- 'Overture to a Dance of Locomotives' in: Sour Grapes (1921)

One by one the objects are defined --
It quickens clarity, outline of leaf

But now the stark dignity of
entrance--Still, the profound change
has come upon them: rooted, they
grip down and begin to awaken.
-- 'Spring and All' in: Spring and All (1923)

so much depends

a red wheel

glazed with rain

beside the white
-- ‘The Red Wheelbarrow’ in: Spring and All (1923)

The crowd at the ball game
is moved uniformly
by a spirit of uselessness
which delights them.
-- 'At the Ball Game' in: Spring and All (1923)

Oh, oh, oh! she cried
as the ambulance men lifted
her to the stretcher--
Is this what you call
making me comfortable?
-- 'The Last Words of my English Grandmother' in: Spring and All (1923)

What are all those
fuzzy-looking things out there?
Trees? Well I'm tired
of them and rolled her head away.
-- 'The Last Words of my English Grandmother' in: Spring and All (1923)

I have eaten
the plums
that were in
the icebox

and which
you were probably
for breakfast

Forgive me
they were delicious
so sweet
and so cold
-- "This Is Just to Say" (1934)

The War is the first and only thing in the world today.

The arts generally are not, nor is this writing a diversion from that for relief, a turning away. It is the war or part of it, merely a different sector of the field.
-- The Wedge (1944), introduction

Is it any better in Heaven, my friend Ford,
Than you found it in Provence?
-- ' To Ford Maddox Ford in Heaven' in: The Wedge (1944)

Through metaphor to reconcile
the people and the stones.
Compose. (No ideas but in things.) Invent!
-- 'A Sort of Song' in: The Wedge (1944)

For the beginning is assuredly
the end--since we know nothing, pure
and simple, beyond
our own complexities.
-- Paterson (1946), bk. 1, preface

Minds like beds always made up,
(more stony than a shore)
unwilling or unable.
-- Paterson (1946), bk. 1, preface

--Say it, no ideas but in things--
nothing but the blank faces of the houses
and cylindrical trees
bent, forked by preconception and accident--
split, furrowed, creased, mottled, stained--
secret--into the body of the light!
-- Paterson (1946), bk. 1

Divorce is
the sign of knowledge in our time.
-- Paterson (1946), bk. 1, 'The Delineaments of the Giants', 1

Without invention nothing is well spaced.
-- Paterson (1946), bk. 2, 'Sunday in the Park', 1

Unless there is
a new mind there cannot be a new
line, the old will go on
repeating itself with recurring
-- Paterson (1946), bk. 2, 'Sunday in the Park', 1

Beyond the gap where the river
plunges into the narrow gorge, unseen

--and the imagination soars, as a voice
beckons, a thundrous voice, endless
--as sleep, the voice
that has ineluctably called them--
that unmoving roar!
-- Paterson (1946), bk. 2, 'Sunday in the Park', 1

Though he is approaching death he is possessed by many
-- Paterson (1958), bk. 5

Anything is good material for poetry. Anything.
-- Paterson (1958), bk. 5

My heart rouses
thinking to bring you news
of something
that concerns you
and concerns many men. Look at
what passes for the new.
You will not find it there but in
despised poems.
It is difficult
to get the news from poems
yet men die miserably every day
for lack
of what is found there.
-- 'Asphodel, That Greeny Flower' in: Journey to Love (1950)

Share this page:

The selection of the above quotes and the writing of the accompanying notes was performed by the author David Paul Wagner.

About UsContact UsPrivacyTerms of Use
© 2005-23 Wide World of Quotes. All Rights Reserved.