To You, Who Likes William Carlos Williams


To you, who likes William Carlos Williams and other Imagists–
One Way (of Undoubtedly Many)
That I Am Different From Them

I can’t write simply
about a red wheel barrow, glazed
with rain, and the plain so-much
that depends upon it.

Too much is appended to
my red wheel barrow.
Though its front tire is uninflatably flat,

it still carts
a chimera, shaped, while you protest
the extra effort required in
my lurching slog, by your endless searches
for the right tool, pot lid that
fits tight, true fix

while I’m fixated on moving
damp leaf mulch right
this minute.

And, in its undelayed but belaying veer
to its rain-glazed side,
may be found my pride
in poor but immediate equipage, my age-old
reliance on a single
serrated knife, pot metal spoon, whatever tilting top
or melt-handled spatula
comes to hand.

All this and more bellies
its red basin–the scratches already
on my new camera, your attention
to socks, and–yes, I know of it–your secret seasoning
of my cast iron–

huff-puff being the thing itself for me,
while you, who urge the purchase soon
of some new barrow, possibly blue,
then, as if much depended upon it,
put another shoulder to
the wheels.


Agh! Drafty sort of poem for Kerry O’Connor’s Prompt on William Carlos Williams that was part of Margaret Bednar’s Real Toads “Play it Again, Sam.”  I am linking on Real Toads Open Platform.   (Based on Williams’ poem about “The Red Wheelbarrow.

I know the pic doesn’t exactly fit, but am not in a situation to put in a better.  And I rather like the poor weeding elephant.  Thanks! k.

Explore posts in the same categories: elephants, poetry, Uncategorized

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15 Comments on “To You, Who Likes William Carlos Williams”

  1. X Says:

    Haha. You found a few more words than he in your own barrow. And I do not even own a barrow. But instead use a tarp to cart the leavings to the fire. So much depends on so much. Our pride included.

  2. I think you worked a lot of thought onto that old wheelbarrow. Ours is broken and filled with waterlogged bricks. Maybes there’s a reason for that. Hmm obsession for socks was so nicely woven into this,

  3. Brendan Says:

    In my first poetry class in college we started out, naturally, with “Red Wheelbarrow” — huh? We cried. It stays in memory as that challenge to understand, find meaning, against that rickety fixed object someone else has left for us. We make it our own writing our own poems — our own damned wheelbarrow, put to use our way — and leave it out for others to say Huh?, to hopefully welcome as one of the tribe’s. Your “poor but immediate equipage,” the humble work you continue to hum and magnify. Thanks.

  4. hedgewitch Says:

    This seems as much about relationship as about words, or what we carry on our wheels–I like the actual word play that slips in, with melt-handle and huff-puff–just a lightening of tone that lifts the cover somewhat, or at least blows it back for a moment, off what we work with and how we do it, perhaps even why, and all the ways others’ innate perceptions of seeing and doing impact that. Anyway, that is possibly my least favorite Williams poem, and one I consider a bit blown out of proportion by academe, and thus also makes a perfect object lesson of the intellect trying to transport what is in the heart. Or so I read and project. ;_) A complex and also very musical piece, k.

    • ManicDdaily Says:

      Thanks. Yes. That’s more than it–I feel like all the objects I write about are imbued by context–since I have a hard time rising above that! Thanks for your thoughtful comment–k.

      On Wed, Aug 26, 2015 at 8:07 AM, ManicDDaily wrote:


  5. tsdwords Says:

    This really struck a chord with me. Especially the age-old reliance on a single spoon, knife… That is me. I find comfort in the familiar, even if the front tire is uninflatably flat (loved that sequence of words, so fun to say, and I had one of those wheelbarrows too…

  6. Kerry O'Connor Says:

    I think William’s choice of the word ‘glazed’ elevates his unhampered image to art, like the memory I carry of certain impressionists paintings. You have a similar knack of excellent word placement, which always produce remarkably clear pictures in my mind as I read your words. I can see your battered but serviceable barrow.

  7. You paint the scene so well, I can see it. And I love your elephant!

  8. lynn__ Says:

    I’ve spent much time weeding this week…filling my rusty red barrow with a useless harvest. Think i could use an elephant! Cool poetic take on william’s wheelbarrow, K 🙂

  9. I can’t write simply
    about a red wheel barrow…. No, you can’t but you do write about one brilliantly. Love this

  10. glazed with rain… what an incredible, articulate vision you have….. Always so wonderful to read you K…… Will you send me an elephant?

    • ManicDdaily Says:

      Ha! Thank you, John! And so sorry to be late in returning your kind comment–I’ve been very under the gun at work.

      You can get an elephant or several on 1 Mississippi–my children’s book– Karin Gustafson–on Amazon. I would offer to send you one but I do not every get around to doing snail mail, so it would be a meaningless offer. Hope all is well. k.

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