Wednesday, May 30, 2007


by William Carlos Williams

The living quality of
the man’s mind
stands out

and its covert assertions
for art, art, art!

that the Renaissance
tried to absorb

it remained a wheat field
over which the
wind played

men with scythes tumbling
the wheat in

the gleaners already busy
it was his own –

the patient horses no one
could take that
from him

Peasant Wedding

Peasant Wedding
by William Carlos Williams

Pour the wine bridegroom
where before you the
bride is enthroned her hair

loose at her temples a head
of ripe wheat is on
the wall beside her the

guests seated at long tables
the bagpipers are ready
there is a hound under

the table the bearded Mayor
is present women in their
starched headgear are

gabbing all but the bride
hands folded in her
lap is awkwardly silent simple

dishes are being served
clabber and what not
from a trestle made of an

unhinged barn door by two
helpers one in a red
coat a spoon in his hatband

The Adoration of the Kings

The Adoration of the Kings
by William Carlos Williams

From the Nativity
which I have already celebrated
the Babe in its Mother’s arms

the Wise Men in their stolen
and Joseph and the soldiery

with their incredulous faces
make a scene copied we’ll say

from the Italian masters
but with a difference
the mastery

of the painting
and the mind the resourceful mind
that governed the whole

the alert mind dissatisfied with
what it is asked to
and cannot do

accepted the story and painted
it in the brilliant
colors of the chronicler

the downcast eyes of the Virgin
as a work of art
for profound worship

The Hunters In the Snow

The Hunters in the Snow
by William Carlos Williams

The over-all picture is winter
icy mountains
in the background the return

from the hunt it is toward evening
from the left
sturdy hunters lead in

their pack the inn-sign
hanging from a
broken hinge is a stag a crucifix

between his antlers the cold
inn yard is
deserted but for a huge bonfire

the flares wind-driven tended by
women who cluster
about it to the right beyond

the hill is a pattern of skaters
Brueghel the painter
concerned with it all has chosen

a winter-struck bush for his
foreground to
complete the picture

Landscape With the Fall of Icarus

Landscape with the Fall of Icarus
by William Carlos Williams

According to Brueghel
when Icarus fell
it was spring

a farmer was ploughing
his field
the whole pageantry

of the year was
awake tingling

the edge of the sea
with itself

sweating in the sun
that melted
the wings' wax

off the coast
there was

a splash quite unnoticed
this was
Icarus drowning

Self Portrait

These are two self portraits of Pieter Brueghel the elder, but neither of them seems to coincide with the image depicted in the poem. If anyone knows where I can get the right image, let me know!

Author's note: Thank you to Juan Antonio Montiel for directing me to this portrait (read the comments for further information about this NON self portrait)

Here is the poem:

Self Portrait
by William Carlos Williams

In a red winter hat blue
eyes smiling
just the head and shoulders

crowded on the canvas
arms folded one
big ear the right showing

the face slightly tilted
a heavy wool coat
with broad buttons

gathered at the neck reveals
a bulbous nose
but the eyes red-rimmed

from over-use he must have
driven them hard
but the delicate wrists

show him to have been a
man unused to
manual labor unshaved his

blond beard half trimmed
no time for any-
thing but his painting

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Pictures from Brueghel

Okay, so William Carlos Williams had this awesome inspiration from looking at the paintings of a Dutch painter named Brueghel. I was inspired by his poetry and by Brueghel at a recent exhibit at the Phoenix Art Museum, so I am posting the paintings along with the poems for your viewing and reading pleasure.
Starting tomorrow because right now my rice is burning and I have sushi to make.