William Carlos William’s Spring and All

The poem begins in a very straight forward set of words that cause the reader numerous impressions of the landscape being described. It starts with the words “contagious hospital” and it is obvious from the language the author uses that the hospital is not contagious because of the disease, but rather it itself is a sickness, an ever-present state in this depressing landscape. The whole poem could be seen as Williams’s response to the wasteland world of poverty and disease which he encountered a lot as a doctor. Williams’s interpretation of this wilderness of clouds, cold, mud, and dead plants gives it a stark beauty, however. Surprisingly while reading this poem one understands that the author, although writes in a very harsh way, he is secretly in love with what he sees around. The “purplish, forked, upstanding, twiggy / stuff of bushes and small trees” stands not as thematic background but as something worth examining in itself, as part of nature.

The theme of spring just awakening together with all of the natural demonstration of its appearance in the nearest future, is traced throughout the entire poem. Even the poem’s structure hints that spring is a rushing season when everything changes and becomes something different very quickly. This opinion can be proved by the poem’s lineation, for instance: “under the surge of the blue / mottled clouds driven from the / northeast”, “blue” and “mottled” are separated by the line break, yet they are semantically combined. The eye jumps from what is normally an adjective, “blue,” to the next line to find the noun, “clouds,” although the line break suggests that “the blue” is itself one unit. The lineation creates the effect of a windy spring sky, the “blue mottled clouds” changing so fast that the reader must pay close attention to distinguish “blue” from “clouds.” As was mentioned before this genre of writing causes the reader to imagine very vividly what the author is picturing for us, and also provides a better comprehension of the author’s own feeling and thoughts at the time.

Williams just like a doctor examining a patient, is writing about the landscape being naked and fully exposed. He is trying to find out the symptoms of the possible disease, this time though, it’s the spring that is coming. The landscape is being renewed with the new life following the approach of “sluggish dazed spring,” it evokes the shoots growing from the earth, but the language leaves the referent of “they” unsure and undecided. Those words suggest a more general concept of birth, physical rebirth that is spiritual in the sense of absolute faith in rebirth. “uncertain of all / save that they enter.” The wind is “familiar,” not shocking, to the newborn simply because there are no preconceptions in plant life, as well as with the human child coming to this world, because he does not have an understanding of all things and cannot compare.

The late winter wasteland will give birth to spring whether we interpret it or not; the child will struggle to survive whether hi family care for him or not. I think this is the general direction of the poem and its gloomy mood. William’s physician’s vision of examining the world empirically, rather than symbolically: “One by one, objects are defined— / It quickens: clarity, outline of leaf” These lines symbolize Williams’s rejection of simple symbolism in and thinks that the world must be viewed as it is and not to be attached to the symbols made up by someone.

The author constantly discovers things throughout the poem, just like the doctor with a patient “Still, the profound change has come upon them: rooted they grip down and begin to awaken”. He realizes that the movement of life never stops and that the new born have to grip to what they see in order to defend themselves and struggle to survive. He has no romantic thoughts about realities of life and views spring more as a physical act of nature. From the decay of winter arises the rebirth of spring growth; from the poor city blocks arises will to live better and to survive. Although death and decay are ever-present, the promise of new life (the spring) and rebirth never vanishes. His spleen and excitement and spring is seen in this poem at the same time and exactly this strange mixture of feeling tell us that spring is not the easiest things to understand and to accept for Williams. However, he marvels at the new life being brought to the world and probably this fact makes death easier to bear.

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