Two Poets

The Red Wheelbarrow (1923)

 

so much depends
upon

 

a red wheel
barrow

 

glazed with rain
water

 

beside the white
chickens.

 

William Carlos Williams (1883-1963)

 

 

Homage (1987)

to William Carlos Williams

 

If you moved the eye of the poem

you could scan the whole yard:

oak trees, swept sand, altheas in bloom,

worn tools propped against a shed,

bright barrow in a cellophane of rain,

slow fowl in tow. What you see

depends on where you stand:

whether you see yourself a child

alone and glad, or not- mouth slack,

bare legs dangling from the lip

of red metal, chickens as stallions;

whether the chickens continue to peck

and cluck, shaking their white wings

free of rain and other strange

comings and goings, while you, a man

going blind, stoop to close your hands,

scarred and strong, around black handles,

to lift them toward a distant light;

or whether you, a woman at noon, turn

at the upstairs windowsill and see

through lace curtains brush strokes

of red and white, feel down your spine

the shiver rainwater makes, and cry out

with breath drawn deep as the ground,

“Oh Lord, the sensible world!”

 

Louise Hardeman Abbot

 

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