William Carlos Williams

(17 September 1883 – 4 March 1963 / New Jersey)

Sub Terra - Poem by William Carlos Williams

Where shall I find you—
You, my grotesque fellows
That I seek everywhere
To make up my band?
None, not one
With the earthy tastes I require:
The burrowing pride that rises
Subtly as on a bush in May.

Where are you this day—
You, my seven-year locusts
With cased wings?
Ah, my beauties, how I long!
That harvest
That shall be your advent—
Thrusting up through the grass,
Up under the weeds,
Answering me—
That shall be satisfying!
The light shall leap and snap
That day as with a million lashes!

Oh, I have you!
Yes, you are about me in a sense,
Playing under the blue pools
That are my windows.
But they shut you out still
There in the half light—
For the simple truth is
That though I see you clear enough …
You are not there.

It is not that—it is you,
You I want, my companions!
God! if I could only fathom
The guts of shadows!—
You to come with me
Poking into negro houses
With their gloom and smell!
In among children
Leaping around a dead dog!
Onto the lawns of the rich!
To go with me a-tip-toe
Head down under heaven,
Nostrils lipping the wind!

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Poem Submitted: Wednesday, March 31, 2010

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