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
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 movement. 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. thomas.