Vox Populi

A Public Sphere for Poetry, Politics, and Nature

Video: W.C. Williams reads ‘By the road to the contagious hospital’

William Carlos Williams’ “Spring and All” begins “By the road to the contagious hospital.” Somber but acknowledging birth in the midst of death. Appropriate for this cruel month–in which I just saw snow flakes falling past the dark pink unopened buds of the crabapple in my yard. –Arlene Weiner
I
By the road to the contagious hospital
under the surge of the blue
mottled clouds driven from the
northeast-a cold wind. Beyond, the
waste of broad, muddy fields
brown with dried weeds, standing and fallen

patches of standing water
the scattering of tall trees

All along the road the reddish
purplish, forked, upstanding, twiggy
stuff of bushes and small trees
with dead, brown leaves under them
leafless vines-

Lifeless in appearance, sluggish
dazed spring approaches-

They enter the new world naked,
cold, uncertain of all
save that they enter. All about them
the cold, familiar wind-

Now the grass, tomorrow
the stiff curl of wildcarrot leaf

One by one 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

-----

This poem was first published in 1925. The audio 
was recorded in 1945. 
Still shot from video

One comment on “Video: W.C. Williams reads ‘By the road to the contagious hospital’

  1. Philip Terman
    April 11, 2020

    Perfect choice.

    Liked by 1 person

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