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                XI

                In passing with my mind
                on nothing in the world

                but the right of way
                I enjoy on the road by

                virtue of the law–
                I saw

                an elderly man who
                smiled and looked away

                to the north past a house–
                a woman in blue

                who was laughing and
                leaning forward to look up

                into the man’s half
                averted face

                and a boy of eight who was
                looking at the middle of

                the man’s belly
                at a watchchain–

                The supreme importance
                of this nameless spectacle

                sped me by them
                without a word–

                Why bother where I went?
                for I went spinning on the

                four wheels of my car
                along the wet road until

                I saw a girl with one leg
                over the rail of a balcony

 

from Spring and All, 1923; “In passing with my mind …”, the perfect beginning, middle and end of a poem; I read this when I was younger, possibly a bit impatient that I wanted something more to happen to call it a happening and also a little annoyed at the snagged details in passing thinking them too particular to so little that was happening … but I liked it; and this liking slipped in between my pomposity and fussiness and worked its way out over following decades through poems exploring this same sense of passing not being the start of something and its almost immediate dissolution, but its almost-not-being-there being its universal reality: vivid, important and sufficient unto itself – “the supreme importance / of this nameless spectacle”; it wasn’t until later I read more of the text in which WCW embedded these poems, raised beds, nonetheless, with earth so finely nourished and turned over that you could sink your fist into it up to your elbow: “When in the condition of imaginative suspense only will the writing have reality … Not to attempt, at that time, to set values on the word being used, according to presupposed measures, but to write down that which happens at that time / To perfect the ability to record at the moment when the consciousness is enlarged by the sympathies and the unity of understanding which the imagination gives, to practise skill in recording the force moving, then to know it, in the largeness of its proportions …”

 

 

————w(O)rmholes________________________________|—–

blue wormhole: SPRING AND ALL I by William Carlos Williams
girl wormhole: ash leaves
house wormhole: presence
looking & travelling wormhole: early // Minoan & Mycenaean Exhibitions in the British Museum – diptych
mind wormhole: glamour of saṃsāra
passing & roads wormhole: La Route de Louveciennes, 1870
smile wormhole: The Boats of Vallisneria by Michael J. Redford – With Pigs
William Carlos Williams wormhole: SPRING AND ALL VI by William Carlos Williams
woman wormhole: green and / luminant / to behold

 

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