prose piece 2 from POEMS 1927 by William Carlos Williams


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When I think how my grandmother flirted with me I often wonder why I have not been attracted by women of her type.   SHE was a devil if ever there was one.   When she’d move into a neighborhood she’d go out and clean it up, tonguewise.   She’d lay ’em out, male and female – and then sit back in peace to her mysterious memories and awkward aspirations toward heaven and the hold she’d have still on the world and its accessories.   She buried the keg of elderberry wine under the side of the house, and the stuff she’d eat, not to waste it, would make you shudder.   This was especially after she’d gone nearly blind and had taken up Christian Science so that you couldn’t trust her.   Boy, them was the days.   And the rags she used to wipe the dishes on when she’d have the family up to a meal in her shack on the shore over the Fourth.   Baby, I can still see Pop wiping his knife on the edge of the tablecloth – or something, before he’d use it.   But talk was her best weapon, she could lay you an argument like a steel fence and you might try to get through it for a day or a week or till doomsday and there she’d be still back of it laughing at you.   The only fault she confessed to was a lack of self-assertion.   She was right too.   She liked no society, no gadding – except on some wild pretext, such as a fascination with the bicycle at sixty.   She fell flat with the handle in one eye, but she did it, bloomers and all.   Yet she–   The city stifled her, she could not wait for the spring.   School or no school (they suffered for it later) out she would yank the two grandkids and off she’s track it for the shore, April to snowfall there she’d make her stand.   Nobody could budge her, not even old man Nolan who had his wife eating out of his hand, big and burly as she was.   He never got the best of Emily.   That was it, she had it.   She wanted to be out, away, alone, in the air, by the sea, breathing it in.   She’d lie in the water’s edge every summer’s day till she was eighty.   Sometimes she’d be so weak, all alone there, she couldn’t get up with her wet rags dragging on her.   She’d turn blue with the effort to lift herself on her hands and knees, laughing self consciously the while but doing it, doing it–   She’d envy the birds the cherries they’d eat, or she’d sit and watch them playing and go get crumbs to throw them, or half scrape a fish the boys would be too lazy to clean, disgusted with its smallness–   Lord what a bed she’d sleep in!   I would carry you away with what it had in it.   When she’d come to kiss you, you’d want to but you’d go easy and there’d be a good smell out of her scalp and up her neck–   She liked me, I’d stand up and fight her by the day trying to get her to have clean dish rags or whatever it would be – some moral issue.   All she wanted was to be alone and to have her quiet way.   She had it.   And love.   She wanted that, hot food into the grave, you couldn’t get her without it.   Took my father up to the cemetery the night before he married and made him promise her things over the grave of his dead sister.   God pardon her for it.


from Poems, 1927
a most vibrant biographical sketch of a person; I know her so well just from this; I wish biographical sketches of famous people were like this – sinewy fibres of life that tell no story, but reveal all that you need to know; and straight-forward language that doesn’t beguile but nonetheless jabs out into the universe




air & William Carlos Williams wormhole: YOUNG SYCAMORE by William Carlos Williams
birds wormhole: I don’t need to go out / onto the balcony to see behind me / to know what’s going on
breathing wormhole: it’s / not what you do or what you say / if it ain’t got that swing
city wormhole: THE GREAT FIGURE by William Carlos Williams
death wormhole: on facing the Have
house wormhole: The Diligence at Louveciennes, 1870
love wormhole: and … // … sound
sea wormhole: Hastings: neither all or nothing
smell wormhole: The Boats of Vallisneria by Michael J. Redford – With Pigs
speech wormhole: between
Spring wormhole: Lapping Reflections [Deep Within Waters] – pageant of the trees
talking wormhole: ‘a blacknight fitted perfectly …’



and … // … sound


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                                and …

                … there, where humans
                have found themselves
                in ever-corporate cluster

                evolving mass of breadth
                and hope in horizon; see,
                they conceive their self

                in immaculate conception:
                pyramidically instilled
                and royal to behold;

                it is their that I will
                be, allegorical to there
                conceit, I shall higher their boat

                to get to the other
                shore, I will honour their
                parents, I will love

                their fulsome lies, but
                the time will come
                that I shall cede the role

                and break their fragile Is
                when the boxes with
                broken strings nonetheless …

                                … sound


inspired both from, and within, the ‘Arya Lalita Vistara Nama Mahayana Sutra‘, which is the life-story of the Buddha, the title of which is beautiful: ‘Arya‘ meaning ‘higher, exalted’ as in connected to reality; ‘Lalita‘ meaning ‘play, game, role’, that everything is not just as it seems … an allegory, although coupled with ‘Arya’ it is an allegory that doesn’t merely ‘point to’ a deeper/higher meaning, it comes from and dwells within that meaning … playfully, poetically, suggestively, also suggesting how the scripture is to be read; ‘Vistara‘ meaning any and all of ‘breadth, dimension, elaboration, enlargement, expansion, extension, spread, width’ – the ‘exponetialising’ means of coupling the ‘Arya’ with the ‘Lalita’ parts; ‘Nama‘, meaning ‘named, called’; ‘Mahayana‘ the spiritual way and means of exponentialising; ‘Sutra‘ a ‘discourse’ or ‘means’ given by the Buddha, yes this is an autobiography, but so much more if read with eyes wide open; there are several allusions to musical instruments that ‘sound’ (and sometimes ‘speak’) when not played, or when broken; ‘their’ and ‘there’ in the 4th stanza poem are sic and are meant to be questioning both identity and place in samsara




Buddha wormhole: with all love released
horizon wormhole: The Diligence at Louveciennes, 1870
identity & society wormhole: Fishermen at Sea, 1796
love wormhole: sun setting over a lake, 1840
music wormhole: on facing the Have
sound wormhole: YOUNG SYCAMORE by William Carlos Williams
teaching wormhole: between
time wormhole: ‘there, …’


‘there, …’


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                that fidgeting ‘no’
                and the cloud of a
                thousand irritations,
                that flick the switch

                without audible click,
                the not-should-somes
                the way-shoulds and always
                the don’t-like-doesn’ts,

                the no-good-nothings
                and me, and me, and me a thousand
                and one times a day,
                build me up accumulated,

                become familiar,
                remind me that I don’t like,
                recognise myself as don’t
                like, corroborating me

                evident to just as it is; I’ll
                go looking for it when
                feeling unsure, make me
                constructed again – girder

                rivet, graunch – hold the
                gantry and pucker in
                the face of all adversity, my
                steely face’ll s t r e t c h

                like leather and I’ll draw the line
                in the sand all around me
                like a corpse taken away
                for inevitable forensics;

                no, the practice of patiences
                are a billion-fold and perpetual
                opening throughout time
                into a grandiloquent lotus


from Bodhisattvacharyavatara VI, 2: There is nothing so destructive and negative as hatred or aggression; there is no discipline or austerity stronger than tolerance, forbearance or patience. Consequently it is only right to practise and cultivate patience and to do so constantly and persistently in all ways and in all situations.




identity wormhole: Fishermen at Sea, 1796
practice wormhole: between
thinking wormhole: despite that
time wormhole: Hastings: neither all or nothing


Hastings: neither all or nothing


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                                                                Hastings: neither all or nothing

                I walked steep down
                                through Victorian house fronts
                                                down the whole height of the
                                                                church steeple

                and stood at the grey sea
                                wondering if there was good reason
                                                to write of it, after all;
                                                                the houses

                were now flats with nets knotted in the
                                windows and abandoned furniture
                                                on the street, but look,
                                                                that corner building

                built to the shape of bifurcating roads, oh
                                and the silver birch at the edge
                                                of the pavement reaching
                                                                up into the blue

                cleared sky and although I needn’t write it,
                                I do; and the roots of this small
                                                tree have bulged the paviours
                                                                unnoticeably over the years





being & doing wormhole: it’s / not what you do or what you say / if it ain’t got that swing
birch wormhole: over-pink cagoule
blue wormhole: {reading right to left}
buildings & silver wormhole: London, 1809
church wormhole: The Boats of Vallisneria by Michael J. Redford – Trees
grey & sky wormhole: Impression of Winter: Carriage on a Country Road, 1872
net curtains wormhole: keep the light off
passing wormhole: passing
roads wormhole: SPRING AND ALL XI by William Carlos Williams
sea wormhole: Fishermen at Sea, 1796
streets & writing wormhole: on facing the Have
time wormhole: somehow
Victorian houses wormhole: Victorian pipework
walking wormhole: blister on me thumb
windows wormhole: Dulwich College, London, 1871




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                side-on to
                the turbine
                blades a

                whole cut
                is made
                clean to the

                before I
                realise what
                has happened





passing wormhole: it’s / not what you do or what you say / if it ain’t got that swing
realisation wormhole: The Passage of the St. Gothard, 1804
train wormhole: early // Minoan & Mycenaean Exhibitions in the British Museum – diptych


it’s / not what you do or what you say / if it ain’t got that swing


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                        not what you do or what you say
                                if it ain’t got that swing

                the regulation of life that lives and grows
                        but the approach of not taking it;

                                              not the
                coming out on top a mountain that never summits
                        but in the byways along the hedges passing landscapes

                                            not …
                        the giving way or giving over,
                                but the letting go,

                        about the knowing
                                but all about the being

                about the certificates and positions that make the career
                        but the smile of greeting

                                               it is
                in seeing that there is nothing to Have
                        that the perfections of living breathe





being & career & doing & living wormhole: between
breathing wormhole: London, 1809
giving wormhole: ‘… and yet I think I am so modest: …’
hedge wormhole: Lapping Reflections [Deep Within Waters] – pageant of the trees
letting go wormhole: to let be
life wormhole: The Diligence at Louveciennes, 1870
passing wormhole: St. Erasmus in Bishop Islip’s Chapels, 1796
retirement wormhole: somehow




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                                there’s something not right about all this
                                the mismatch between what is said and

                                the delay of their eyes, between justice
                                and making living, the ‘bad faith’ and

                                the ‘phoniness’, the study and the reference,
                                the practice and the ambition, the birth

                                and the growth, the teaching and
                                the career – leaves you betwixt

                if you’re at all





being wormhole: Fishermen at Sea, 1796
career wormhole: how to teach
doing wormhole: on facing the Have
eye wormhole: Lapping Reflections [Deep Within Waters] – pageant of the trees
justice wormhole: London refugee march – 120915
living wormhole: Victorian pipework
practice wormhole: to arms, then;
speech wormhole: somehow
study & teaching wormhole: coterminalism – there is nothing happens by itself, / 070118




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                                I was visiting back
                where everything seemed to have changed
                                … ‘I’ll let Simon, here
                take you there’, I let
                                Simon know
                that I knew these corridors,
                                had worked here a time ago
                for quite a time …
                                and in the lunch hall
                the manager who’d watched it fall apart
                                in unmoveable brief
                was making her way
                                my way we,
                would have to meet, I looked down
                                to greet, she looked down
                to avoid hoping there
                                was anything else to notice,
                I took her head in my arms
                                because I think it’s
                OK to say “it’s OK”





dream wormhole: on facing the Have
looking & retirement & school wormhole: to let be
school wormhole: sun setting over a lake, 1840
teaching wormhole: ‘… and yet I think I am so modest: …’
time wormhole: The Diligence at Louveciennes, 1870


The Diligence at Louveciennes, 1870


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                there came the time
                about the red-tiled house

                when the trees had grown
                high-enough to sway away

                from roof, to loom over roof to be
                the new horizon, lime and distant,

                no branches until the canopy
                creating a depth that was

                dizzying, higher than the
                chimneys, year after year,

                under ruddy clouds and a
                brown sun between autumn leaves


up through the depth of The Diligence at Louveciennes, 1870 by Camille Pissarro




autumn wormhole: Dulwich College, London, 1871
brown & life & lime & trees wormhole: La Route, Effet d’Hiver, 1872
clouds wormhole: Fishermen at Sea, 1796
horizon & leaves & red wormhole: Impression of Winter: Carriage on a Country Road, 1872
house wormhole: SPRING AND ALL XI by William Carlos Williams
roof wormhole: on facing the Have
sun wormhole: La Route de Louveciennes, 1870
time wormhole: London, 1809


Bodhisattvacharayvatara: Chapter VI, Patience – verses 85-86; reflectionary

Bodhisattvacharayvatara by Acharya Śāntideva

Chapter VI– verses 85-86

Transglomeration: [But others don’t deserve to be happy, I’m the virtuous one here!]   [85] OK, so you would perversely have it that others should not have the ripenings of their own virtue, the support of their families and communities, that they disavow and nullify their own good qualities?   And then you get angry with them that they enjoy their success!   Rather, it is because you get angry that you lose hold over your own virtue, that you lose the faith of others and the kindness they show you, that all your spiritual worth comes to nothing.   Is there nothing you don’t get angry with?   Tell me, would it not be better to get angry with yourself for not having the causes for gain?   Where will this perversity of yours end up?   [86] It is bad enough that you feel no regret about the un-virtuous deeds you commit now (and have before), O mind, but why do you then compound it by arrogantly thinking to measure yourself against others who undertake the practice of virtuous deeds as well?

~~~ “BCA” ~~~

V. 84 indifference to getting/not getting
↑ Stitch ↓
V. 85-86 fault of resenting others’ happiness and fortune

Sanskrit/Tibetan Text: in verse 85, it seems the Sanskrit addresses oneself talking about ‘him’ supressing, or not taking (expressing, participating in), his virtues, (being with) kind people and good qualities (i.e. because you, O mind, resent them having these things), but then asking with what should one (really) be being angry with; whereas the Tibetan turns the same glove inside out and makes the conclusion for you, O mind, that you, being angry about others’ virtue and good fortune, destroys one’s own virtue, faith (others have in you) and good qualities; in the transglomeration – to include both outside-in and inside-out – start with a dripping-sarcastic Sanskrit (‘OK, so …’ ending with ‘that’s right, get angry with others!’, and then (‘rather’, ‘because you get angry … affecting virtue, faith, qualities …’) drive it home with a Tibetan saying it like it is

Reflection: all, still addressed to, ‘O mind’, self-obsessed, self-grasping, self-cherishing, self-justifying and in all other ways, self-ish; all of these two verses are in the form of self-addressed questions; this is Śāntideva getting angry with the self-centered mind (as he himself advises), but getting angry because the self-centered mind (OK, me, me, me) is stupidly denying the whole of causality to just fit in with what I want and then shouting about it when it doesn’t work out as I want, Śāntideva’s anger is the combined exasperation and understanding when faced with a tired toddler throwing a tantrum because the wooden bricks won’t stack up; the same as is shown in chapter five earlier, this anger is directed against one’s own faults and mistakes (it’s no good being tolerant and indulgent with a self-centered mind, this causes the build-up of problems in the first place) and for the meanwhile is to be tolerated; a fine line to balance on, admitted, but one that is a true practice of the Middle Way between self-indulgence and self-denial – a skilful virtue, because it is truer

Reflection: Śāntideva’s response (to the self-obsessed mind) is a re-affirmation of the inexorability of cause and effect: the self-absorbed mind, in the throes of envy and resentment, thinks happiness and fortune are ‘bestowed’, are a matter of justice and ownership, and it stays in this perverse way of seeing things precisely because it refuses to acknowledge the cause and effect of how things work – in fact, because it has reached a state of anger about the situation (others getting happiness and not oneself), it is really holding tight to the notion that others getting happiness is ‘unfair’ and thereby strengthening the belief in things happening a-causally

Practice: is implicit in these verses, but rather obvious, given Śāntideva’s sarcasm towards the self-cherishing mind: recognise that things happen causally, and rejoice in others’ virtue when it reaches fruition – whether it is of relative scope, and definitely if it is ultimate; when jealous of others getting something, would I want them to deny their virtue which has brought them good fortune – or, why don’t I rejoice in their (virtue which has engineered their) good fortune and thereby create the causes for my own