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(17 September 1883 – 4 March 1963 / New Jersey)

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The Red Wheelbarrow

so much depends
upon

a red wheel
barrow

glazed with rain
water

beside the white
chickens.

Submitted: Friday, January 03, 2003


Read poems about / on: rain, red, water

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Comments about this poem (Blizzard by William Carlos Williams )

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  • Lorraine Margueritte Gasrel Black (4/1/2014 3:56:00 PM)

    Very good imigery... almost haiku like..I studied this poem in college many years ago and its image has always stayed with me...it's true it gives many meanings to the readers but the poet could have had many ideas, too...many of these poems have a secret meaning..does only the poet know the truth? That's the beauty of writing abstract poetry...the space between the words...and the solid picture defines..we see what we want to see and feel as we want...

    1 person liked.
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  • Alyssa Newton (2/27/2014 7:34:00 PM)

    We had an assignment just recently in my english class for this poem. We had to take the image painted by Williams and create a story around it. It was purely inventive, and despite the consistent image, no two stories were alike. I think that's the real point of this poem, and imagist poetry in general. Even all writing in general, come to think of it. Sure, it may be about something specific, or it may mean something particular to the writer. That will always be a thing. But what is important is that it means something to the reader, and moreso that it means something different to every reader. So I think the utter abstractness of this poem is because we are supposed to give it our own meaning. We are supposed to make it our own.

  • D Sterling (2/16/2014 2:30:00 PM)

    lol lol lol lol lol lol lol lol

  • Myles Sweeney (1/7/2014 9:23:00 PM)

    Possible, Billy. However, W.C Williams had a child who was ill. As he sat in the child's room, he could look out the window and see a red wheelbarrow in the yard. As the child's condition worsened, he convinced himself that if the child could only get well enough to walk from his bed to the wheelbarrow without help, he would be okay...

    The child eventually died, so I think the poem is about how we attach such importance to such arbitrary things in our lives to mask what really matters. We try to fool everyone, and in the end we only fool ourselves.

  • Myles Sweeney (1/7/2014 9:21:00 PM)

    Possible, Billy. However, W.C Williams had a child who was ill. As he sat in the child's room, he could look out the window and see a red wheelbarrow in the yard. As the child's condition worsened, he convinced himself that if the child could only get well enough to walk from his bed to the wheelbarrow without help, he would be okay...

    The child eventually died, so I think the poem is about how we attach such importance to such arbitrary things in our lives to mask what really matters. We try to fool everyone, and in the end we only fool ourselves.

  • Billy Sheppard (12/7/2013 9:53:00 AM)

    This poem is a kind of test. I don't believe I have the definitive answer. I don't believe there is a definitive answer to the poem, but I do believe the meaning is in the nature of a puzzle. As in any puzzle, we know that we must have all that is necessary to know the answer. It is the nature of a poem to have all the right words. A poem is just right. It's self contained. The form of the poem is the key, but WCW violates the form in an subtle way as the poem progresses. I am content to love this poem. My solutions are nearly adequate to account for my love of the poem, but not quite. I believe the answer that fits the form and content perfectly is that WCW has found in a tiny collection of words a trap to set my mind and heart on a delightful search in to the meaning and value of poetry. The form of this poem continues to evolve and to violate my expectations like a great piece of repetitive music which imperceptibly alters into a very different thing. I can't reduce the poem into a smaller form. I cannot solve it. I can love it and it is short enough to live in it's unsolved state as an object of pure poetic joy. It is its own best explanation. It's just right. I love it. The answer to why I love it is the poem itself. Never ever answer the question, Why do you love me? That question is always a trap.

    [Beside the white is fun because it makes me think of enjambment. The syllable counting is fun because it almost fits but never quite what I expect. So much depends is fun because it establishes high stakes. All of the time spent analyzing this poem is fun to me, and all of it is a contemplation of the nature and importance of poetry itself. When in doubt, I have been told, a poem is about poetry. Even Shall I compare thee to a summer's day... is about a poem. I think that. And other stuff like that. I don't know why this poem has special meaning, but I know that it does. I know that because I feel it.]

  • Ju Ro (7/7/2013 9:56:00 AM)

    The wheelbarrow is parents, the rainwater, their tears from raising children, represented by the chickens.

  • Lauren Robinson (6/9/2013 12:44:00 PM)

    this poem is about the structure not the content the words are just functional they hold no meanign for the poet

  • Robert Ensor (4/25/2013 9:37:00 AM)

    Dear Alec Whitthohn,
    What a wonderful critique of The Red Wheelbarrow.
    Perhaps you would do me the honour of looking at
    my Voice of Buddha and leaving your comments
    (however critical!) .
    Yours sincerely,
    Robert Ensor.

  • Alexandra Haddad (4/4/2013 2:06:00 PM)

    beautiful in its simplicity

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