For William Carlos Williams

Took a poetry break.

Just opening the Norton Anthology of Modern Poetry at random, I stumbled upon a poem by Galway Kinnell. I like it. I like it a lot. I’ve been reading bits of Paterson by William Carlos Williams lately, and given the current climate when I’ve read prose lately, this one really struck a nerve

For William Carlos Williams

When you came and you talked and you read with your
Private zest from the varicose marble
Of the podium, the lovers of literature
Paid you the tribute of almost total
Inattention, although when you spoke of a pig
Did squirm, and it is only fair to report another gig-

gled. But you didn’t even care. You seemed
Above remarking we were not your friends.
You hung around inside the rimmed
Circles of your heavy glasses and smiled and
So passed a lonely evening. In an hour
Of talking your honesty built you a tower.

When it was over and you sat down and the chair-
man got up and smiled and congratulated
You and shook your hand, I watched a professor
In neat bow tie and enormous tweeds, who patted
A faint praise of the sufficiently damned,
Drained spittle from his pipe, then scrammed.