William Carlos Williams

17 September 1883 – 4 March 1963 / New Jersey

Kora In Hell: Improvisations Xvii

1
Little round moon up there—wait awhile—do not walk so quickly. I could sing you a song—: Wine clear the sky is and the stars no bigger than sparks! Wait for me and next winter we'll build a fire and shake up twists of sparks out of it and you shall see yourself in the ashes, young—as you were one time.

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It has always been the fashion to talk about the moon.

2
This that I have struggled against is the very thing I should have chosen—but all's right now. They said I could not put the flower back into the stem nor win roses upon dead briars and I like a fool believed them. But all's right now. Weave away, dead fingers, the darkies are dancing in Mayaguez—all but one with the sore heel and sugar cane will soon be high enough to romp through. Haia! leading over the ditches, with your skirts flying and the devil in the wind back of you—no one else. Weave away and the bitter tongue of an old woman is eating, eating, eating venomous words with thirty years mould on them and all shall be eaten back to honeymoon's end. Weave and pangs of agony and pangs of loneliness are beaten backward into the love kiss, weave and kiss recedes into kiss and kisses into looks and looks into the heart's dark—and over again and over again and time's pushed ahead in spite of all that. The petals that fell bearing me under are lifted one by one. That which kissed my flesh for priest's lace so that I could not touch it—weave and you have lifted it and I am glimpsing light chinks among the notes ! Backward, and my hair is crisp with purple sap and the last crust's broken.

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A woman on the verge of growing old kindles in the mind of her son a certain curiosity which spinning upon itself catches the woman herself in its wheel, stripping from her the accumulations of many harsh years and shows her at last full of an old time suppleness hardly to have been guessed by the stiffened exterior which had held her fast till that time.

3
Once again the moon in a glassy twilight. The gas jet in the third floor window is turned low, they have not drawn the shade, sends down a flat glare upon the lounge's cotton-Persian cover where the time passes with clumsy caresses. Never in this milieu has one stirred himself to turn up the light. It is costly to leave a jet burning at all. Feel your way to the bed. Drop your clothes on the floor and creep in. Flesh becomes so accustomed to the touch she will not even waken. And so hours pass and not a move. The room too falls asleep and the street outside falls mumbling into a heap of black rags morning's at seven—

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Seeing a light in an upper window the poet by means of the power he has enters the room and of what he sees there brews himself a sleep potion.
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