“The Widow’s Lament in Springtime” by William Carlos Williams

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Poetry has remained one of the most excellent literary creations that are both insightful and enjoyable from antiquity to the present day. Lyrics provide a reflection of many societal events, including death, marriage, sadness, pleasure, and political issues. William Carlos Williams' poem "Widow's Lament in Springtime" is one of the well-known works that consider the grief feeling that occurs when loved ones are taken by death (Ploog and Randy 122). Additionally, within the rhyme where the widow expresses her despair over the death of her husband, the author uses various stylistic devices to pass the message and the theme of the poesy.

Theme of the Poem and its Cultural Significance

The lyric done by William Carlos Williams is a 28-line verse that embraces the topic of demise and misery. The latter are eminent when the widow portrays her grief by moaning over the loss of her spouse. Despite the fact that he died long ago, the growing plants remind her about him. Additionally, based on the title of the poem, it has the word “lament” which involves sad and pain that the speaker is subjected to due to the bereavement of her life partner (Ploog and Randy 122). On the other hand, the theme of dying forms in the mind of the reader when the word “widow” comes to sight an implication that the woman misses her consort due to death. Therefore, the title suggests that death is the main activity envied in the context. An important point to note is that the theme of the poem depicts the cultural significance in the society where death was regarded as a bad omen and robbed people of their beloved ones.

Poetry Analysis

Poetic Devices Used

The starts in line one where the speakers metaphorically compare the death of her husband to her yard. The latter is always considered as something that is looked after, and the springs denoted the healthy aspect of the vegetation in the yard (Ploog and Randy 122). Additionally, in lines 2-4 the persona uses imagery to make her lamentation. It is used to describe the yard and refers to the grass as flames to depict how spontaneous they were growing. However, the seasonality of the grass is also reflected when she says that, as they had flamed before. Line 5-6 depicts the displeasure that the speaker has on the grass, as the grass could not hold any warmth. She feels distant from the new growth eminent in the yard (Hudson and Marc 9). Besides, line 7-8 gives information of the duration the speaker lived together with the spouse which was 35 years, and the extent of the heartbreak.

Furthermore, lines 9-10 give an insight of the manner in which the vegetation grew healthier with white flowers through imagery. The use of the word “bloom” indicates abundance which is contrary to the feeling of the speaker who laments over death. Moreover, the speaker talks about the cherry tree that also is in bloom, as they are used to depict the way the widow views the world due to the loss. Therefore, most parts of the lyric tend to remind the speaker of her past encounter and imagines of the best they had together with the partner.

Imagery, Metaphor, Repetition, and Personification

Various poetic devices are used in the poem like imagery, metaphor, repetition, and personification. Particularly, imagery is utilized in most of the lines to give a vivid description of the yard. Then, the reader can have the pre-formed image of the appearance of the court as she tries to make an image of the new grasses being flames. Moreover, metaphors are used in the first line of the poem where the speaker gives a comparison of her sorrow to the yard so that the reader can relate the two scenarios. In addition, repetition is employed to make emphasis (Hudson and Marc 8). The word “gloom” is often repeated to depict the abundance of the vegetation due to spring. Another important stylistic devise used is personification where non-living things are given human attributes, make them have the ability to run and talk with the intention of bringing out the meaning of the rhyme more vividly.

Use of Universal Symbols and Unusual Language

An important point to note is based on the vocabularies used in the verse and the universal language to put stress on the theme of the work (Hu 34). Some of the symbols used include white flowers that denote the abundance of peaceful life. On the other hand, red flowers are used to depict death in as the eminent topic. Subsequently, the vocabulary used is a meadow that bears a meaning a piece of grassland. The first line of the poem is of importance because it gives its purpose by making emphasis on the subject of sadness (Hu 35). Therefore, the poetry provides an insight to the pain and gap that was left by the bereavement of beloved ones, as the speaker delineates the grief and pain she undergoes.

Works Cited

Hu, Li. “Faint American Poetry, Deep Love of China – Appreciation on The Widow’s Lament in Springtime by William Carlos Williams.” Journal of Xichang College (Social Science Edition), vol. 23, no. 1, 2011, pp. 33-35.

Hudson, Marc. “Place and Idiom in William Carlos Williams’s Poetry.” Sewanee Review, vol. 120, no. 1, 2012, pp. 7-9.

Ploog, Randy. “A New Others: The Correspondence between William Carlos Williams and Mitchell Dawson.” William Carlos Williams Review, vol. 30, no. 1, 2013, pp. 121-136.

January 25, 2023

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