William, Repeated

And my uncertainty about William Carlos Williams continues to flicker.


I don’t know.

Maybe its my issue with the repeated first and last name (similar to that “musician” Phillip Phillips) that bothers me. But I don’t find his poetry that appealing. I am in agreement to classify him as one of the greats (as he is classified as one), however.

But simplicity can be moving. Simplicity is to the point.

As a subscriber to Poets.org, I received an email with a love poem by the poet (he is a poet, there is no denying that), and the title “Love” pretty much says it all. Here it is:

Love is twain, it is not single
Gold and silver mixed to one,
Passion ’tis and pain which mingle
Glist’ring then for aye undone.

Pain it is not; wandering pity
Dies or e’er the pang is fled;
Passion ’tis not, foul and gritty,
Born one instant, instant dead.

Love is twain, it is not single
Gold and silver mixed to one,
Passion ’tis and pain which mingle
Glist’ring then for aye undone.

Just like the author’s name, another sandwich of stanzas is clearly demonstrated. In my opinion, it’s a waste of a stanza. The repeated stanzas are bookends. The copied stanza is a stop, it’s a roadblock, it’s a nails strip that stops the thought car from progressing.

My college poetry professor pretty much told me once that my two-lined piece/poem was not poetry. I loved that two-liner, but it couldn’t appease some people. Oh, well. I have no idea where I was going with this, so …

The poem, in my opinion, should have ended after the second stanza. Two and done. The repetition — when anything is repeated, it’s as if you’re being scolded or information is being forced down your throat. Love is, indeed, two, Carlos. You cannot solely consider what is best for you, but what is best for the other person, and ultimately what is best for the relationship, for all people involved.

But Williams beautifies the repetition. I cannot be overly critical if a poet isn’t my cup of tea. The last two lines are delightful. Passion ’tis and pain which mingle … The two aspects do have to mingle. Pain has the ability to be beautiful as well, and one cannot exist without the other.

Williams insists and infers patience, and I’m glad he does not blatantly mention it. The second stanza is an offshoot, an emphasis, a definition of what is said in the first stanza. And it’s advantageous to find something wonderful about a poem that is not of one’s taste. Where my respect with the repetitive third stanza lies: this group of four lines is a reminder to the reader to say, Do you see what is done there?

Perhaps this reflects on habits, the habits of both people in the relationship. This could be thoroughly overwritten and analyzed and to pulp. As individuals, we will notice the habits of our partners, and it’s important to not force a bad habit’s change, but let it turn naturally.

Patience, love is.

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