On Spring Cleaning

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These days, say "William Carlos Williams" and all most folks remember are the over-anthologized, over-analyzed red wheelbarrow poem and "This Is Just To Say" (write your sweetie a refrigerator poem today), but he's a great poet of spring, and some of his best work celebrates--and bemoans--this most tenuous of seasons.

Check out "Spring and All" or "Asphodel, That Greeny Flower" sometime, and right now, as Spring Cleaning month runs out and there's precious little time left to complain about a week of chill rain before we have to give ourselves wholly over to complaints about the muggy heat, enjoy this--

 

Love Song


Sweep the house clean,
hang fresh curtains
in the windows
put on a new dress
and come with me!
The elm is scattering
its little loaves
of sweet smells
from a white sky!


Who shall hear of us
in the time to come?
Let him say there was
a burst of fragrance
from black branches.

--William Carlos Williams, Al Que Quiere! The Four Seas Company: Boston, 1917

 

"A burst of fragrance/from black branches"--not a bad epitaph, not bad at all. So finish your dusting and filing, my friends, and I'll see you in the park.

(SGH)

Photo credit: Raymond Chong

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Maxwell left teaching in 2001 to start Apartment Therapy as a design business helping people to make their homes more beautiful, organized AND healthy. The website started up in 2004 with the help of his brother, Oliver.