by William Carlos Williams


Flowers through the window

lavender and yellow


changed by white curtains—

Smell of cleanliness—


Sunshine of late afternoon—

On the glass tray


a glass pitcher, the tumbler

turned down, by which


a key is lying—And the

immaculate white bed



In his essay “William Carlos Williams and the Visual” (in Breakfast Served All Day: Essays on Poetry New and Selected, Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press, 2003, 2004), Donald Hall says of this 1934 poem that “In ‘Nantucket’ and in many other poems, WCW enacts a joy—unpretentious, accomplished in action not in reflection.” He also notes that the poem “does not begin by saying ‘so much depends / upon’ but such insistence is implicit: An intense, even ecstatic value is placed upon the act of total attention, stasis become ecstasis, and the soul flies out of the body in astonished acute notation of experience.” This, to me, is exactly the transcendence, the attention, and the same joy, of haiku poetry.