Archives for posts with tag: William Carlos Williams

The One Page Poetry Circle met on March 5th to feast on poetry and food.

Abigail opened the circle with “The Feed” by the Native American poet M. L. Smoker who describes the preparation for a feast, “Aunties carry the full pots and pans to the/picnic table, an uncle prays over our food in Assiniboine. We all want to/forget that we don’t understand this language, we spend lots of time/trying to forget in different ways.”

AnnaLee read Toi Derricotte’s “My dad & sardines” wherein the discovery of a tin of sardines brings back an ambiguous memory of a father who topped a saltine with mustard, a sardine, and an onion, “then he’d look up from his soiled/fingers with one eyebrow/raised, a rakish/grin that said–all/for me!–as if he was/getting away/with murder.”

Mae read a poem she had written about the short month of February that included the delights of Valentine’s Day and the Chinese New Year.

Carol read Pablo Neruda’s “Ode to Tomatoes” which shows the tomato as the “star of earth” that “displays/its convolutions,/its canals,/its remarkable amplitude/and abundance,/no pit,/no husk,/no leaves or thorns,/the tomato offers/its gift/of fiery color/and cool completeness.”

Daria read “This Is Just to Say” William Carlos Williams’s apology to his wife for eating the plums she was saving for breakfast, “Forgive me/they were delicious/so sweet/and so cold.”

Cate read “Eating Together,” a poem with an unexpected turn, by Li-Young Lee, given here in its entirety:

In the steamer is the trout
seasoned with slivers of ginger,
two springs of green onion, and sesame oil
shall eat it with rice for lunch,
brothers, sister, my mother who will
taste the sweetest meat of the head,
holding it between her fingers
deftly, the way my father did
weeks ago. Then he lay down
to sleep like a snow-covered road
winding through pines older than him,
without any travelers, and lonely for no one.

Susan read another William Carlos Williams poem about plums, “To a Poor Old Woman,” “Comforted/a solace of ripe plums/seeming to fill the air/They taste good to her.”

Christiana read Galway Kinnell’s serious and humorous account of eating “Oatmeal” with John Keats, “Keats said I was absolutely right to invite him:/due to its glutinous texture, gluey lumpishness, hint of slime,/and unusual willingness to disintegrate, oatmeal should not be eaten alone./He said that in his opinion, however, it is perfectly OK to eat/it with an imaginary companion, and that he himself had/enjoyed memorable porridges with Edmund Spenser and John Milton.”

Gail read a selection from “The Eve of St. Agnes” by John Keats where the hero is given a feast “Of candied apple, quince, and plum, and gourd;/With jellies soother than the creamy curd,/And lucent syrops, tinct with cinnamon;/Manna and dates, in argosy transferr’d /From Fez.”

Michelle read a poem about gluttony, a sin we all have been guilty of, that starts, “Where it all began was to eat too much.”

Hazel read “The Owl,” another poem with a change of mood, by Edward Thomas in which the narrator while feeling comfortable and sated, hears an owl’s cry, “Speaking for all who lay under the stars,/Soldiers and poor, unable to rejoice.”

Roger read Emily Dickinson’s Poem 53, which begins, “GOD gave a loaf to every bird,/But just a crumb to me” and ends, “I deem that I with but a crumb/Am sovereign of them all.

Kai couldn’t be with us, but thought of “Ode to an Artichoke” by Pablo Neruda, a whimsical tale of the vegetable from earth to plate where “we undress/this delight/we munch/the peaceful paste/of its green heart.”

We’re looking forward to seeing you at the April 2nd One Page Poetry Circle. Whether a poem concerns a mystery, solves a mystery, or is a mystery, choose a poem that has meaning to you. And if you can, come with copies for others to share. Can’t locate a poem you want to bring? Browse the poetry section at the library or check out Poetry Foundation or

In the meantime, please blog with us here at

Spring 2019 Season
Tuesday, April 2, Poetry and Mystery
Tuesday, May 7, Poetry and Longing

Abigail Burnham Bloom and AnnaLee Wilson

The One Page Poetry Circle is sponsored by the New York Public Library and is open to all. St. Agnes Branch Library is handicap accessible.


The One Page Poetry Circle (at St. Agnes Branch Library) met on March 6th to talk about Poetry and Enjambment. The word comes from the French meaning “legs straddling,” as the thought in a poem can flow beyond a line.

Abigail opened the circle with Núala Ni Dhomhnaill’s “The Language Issue,” her answer to why she writes in Irish (the poem was translated into English by Paul Muldoon) and begins, “I place my hope on the water/in this little boat/of the language, the way a body might put/an infant/in a basket of intertwined/iris leaves.” The poem reflects the flowing water with enjambment.

Roger read “The Poet of Bray” by John Heath-Stubbs, a humorous history of a poet’s changing political views. His excitement is captured with enjambment, “Back in the dear old thirties’ days/When politics was passion/A harmless left-wing bard was I/And so I grew in fashion.”

Hazel read Hamlet’s “To Be or Not To Be” speech from Shakespeare’s play Hamlet. We were delighted to revisit this poem and examine how the thoughts move forward, “To be, or not to be—that is the question:/Whether ’tis nobler in the mind to suffer/the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune/Or to take arms against a sea of troubles.”

Gail read “The Good Life” by the current American Poet Laureate, Tracy K. Smith, a poem that captures shifting images in a single sentence and is given in its entirety here:

When some people talk about money
They speak as if it were a mysterious lover
Who went out to buy milk and never
Came back, and it makes me nostalgic
For the years I lived on coffee and bread,
Hungry all the time, walking to work on payday
Like a woman journeying for water
From a village without a well, then living
One or two nights like everyone else
On roast chicken and red wine.

Ken read the start of “Endymion” by John Keats, with its many beautiful images created through enjambment, “A thing of beauty is a joy for ever:/Its loveliness increases; it will never/Pass into nothingness; but still will keep/A bower quiet for us, and a sleep/Full of sweet dreams, and health, and quiet breathing.”

Christiana read Marianne Moore’s “The Fish,” which proceeds in ocean-like waves, “wade/through black jade/Of the crow-blue mussel-shells, one keeps/adjusting the ash heaps;/opening and shutting itself like/an/injured fan.”

Linda read Sylvia Plath’s “Edge,” written just six days before she died, in which the sentences run on into the next verse, “The woman is perfected./Her dead/Body wears the smile of accomplishment,/The illusion of a Greek necessity/Flows in the scrolls of her toga.”

Cate read Ted Kooser’s “Gyroscope,” which creates a beautiful image in one sentence, “I place this within the first order/of wonders: a ten-year-old girl/one on a sunny, glassed-in porch/in February, the world beyond/the windows slowly tipping forward into spring.” We noted that when you first read the line ending “the world beyond” there seems to be a natural stop, but the thought continues into the next line and the thought changes.

Susan read “This Is Just To Say” by William Carlos Williams in which a husband apologizes for eating the plums in the icebox that his wife was saving for breakfast, “Forgive me/they were delicious/so sweet/and so cold.”

AnnaLee read Archibald MacLeish’s “The End of the World” in which a mad circus disappears when the top blows off, “There with vast wings across the cancelled skies,/There in the sudden blackness the black pall/Of nothing, nothing, nothing—nothing at all.”

Please blog with us at And join us for our next program at the St. Agnes Branch of the New York Public Library, 81st and Amsterdam Avenue, Manhattan. Dates and times follow:  

Spring 2018 Schedule
April 17: Poetry and Timing (5:30 – 6:30 pm)
May 8: Poetry and Choices (5:30 – 6:30 pm)

Abigail Burnham Bloom and
AnnaLee Wilson

The One Page Poetry Circle is sponsored by the New York Public Library and is open to all. St. Agnes Branch Library is handicap accessible.

Find a poem! Show up! Read a poem! Discuss a poem!

Join us Tuesday, March 6, 5:30 – 6:30 pm at St. Agnes Branch Library, 444 Amsterdam Ave. at 81st St. for the theme of Poetry and Enjambment

Sometimes we like to choose a theme that teaches us something about poetry. Recently we looked at poetry and punctuation, and since then we’ve noticed that we are paying more attention to how punctuation is used in poetry. And now for March we’ll explore enjambment, a technique where one poetic line moves to the next, without punctuation at the end of the line; it is the opposite of an end-stopped line. Enjambment creates tension as we are used to pausing at the end of poetic lines, and yet we must read on to the next line in order to complete the sentence or thought. Homer used enjambment as did John Milton in Paradise Lost, calling it “sense variously drawn out from one verse into another.” The start of T.S. Eliot’s The Waste Land uses enjambment in lines 1, 2, 3, 5, and 6, and end stops in lines 4 and 7:

April is the cruelest month, breeding
Lilacs out of the dead land, mixing
Memory and desire, stirring
Dull roots with spring rain.
Winter kept us warm, covering
Earth in forgetful snow, feeding
A little life with dried tubers.

In the ten enjambed lines of “Between Walls” by William Carlos Williams, the poet forces us to both speed up to complete the thoughts, and slow down to consider words at the end of lines:

The back wings
of the

hospital where

will grow lie

in which shine
the broken

pieces of a green

In rereading our blog post before hitting the “publish” button, I’m intrigued with the line endings of Eliot’s The Waste Land. Taken together, the last words make up a little rhythmical chant poem of their own:

Breeding, mixing, stirring, rain.
Covering, feeding, tubers.

Blog your thoughts on the poems you find here, or post an enjambed poem of your choice and say why you like it.


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The One Page Poetry Circle is sponsored by the New York Public Library and is open to all. St. Agnes Branch Library is handicap accessible.

Mankind is never satisfied. As Eve yearned for the forbidden fruit, and Tantalus for the water he could not drink, we all hunger or thirst for something more than we have whether it’s food or love or adventure or poetry.

One of the most horrific accounts of hunger occurs in Canto 33 of Dante’s Divine Comedy. Count Ugolino has been imprisoned with his sons, in what came to be called the Hunger Tower in Pisa, and left to starve: 

 . . . And I 
Already going blind, groped over my brood 
Calling to them, though I had watched them die, 
For two long days. And then the hunger had more 
Power than even sorrow over me

Sometimes the slaking of our desire transports us to poetic heights as in William Carlos Williams’s “This is Just to Say”: 

I have eaten 
the plums 
that were in 
the icebox

and which 
you were probably 
for breakfast

Forgive me 
they were delicious 
so sweet 
and so cold

What do you think about Williams’s poem? You can also post another poem about Hunger and Thirst!