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Hunters in the Snow -- William Carlos Williams

The third poem in this week's theme:
(Poem #484) Hunters in the Snow
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
that 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
-- William Carlos Williams
What I find most interesting about William Carlos Williams' take on Brueghel's
'Hunters in the Snow' is that unlike the other poets we've featured, Williams
talks, not about the scene shown in the painting, but about the painting itself.
There's an extra level of indirection here which is subtle but (I think) quite
important - especially given the context of Williams' work and the Imagist

The poem itself is simple and direct, a perfect example of Williams' inimitable
minimalism. It also stays true to the Imagist mantra "Show, don't tell"; the
difference, though, is that what's being shown is not a scene, but an image of
one. In that, it reminds me irresistibly of another painting I once saw - I
don't remember the name, but I'm pretty sure it was by Matisse; could some kind
soul on this mailing list illuminate me? - of a painting, which in turn showed
the view out of a window, and was placed directly in front of that window.
Strange loops, self-reference, wheels within wheels... Lovely.


19 comments: ( or Leave a comment )

javieth said...

I must to say i love the snow, the cold climate, although i´m not a child anymore i remember my happy childhood and all the beutiful time that i spent with all my friends. Now when is snowing i prefer to spend my time with my boyfriend, most of all that he decided to buy viagra, we enjoy all the time.

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