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Nataphan Soontornworasate (Sand)

English 1208

The Truth of Death and Birth

In the “Willow Poem”, William Carlos Williams indicates that death is inevitable

through the use of personification of nature. ​The “Willow Poem” consisted of totally one

stanza fourteen lines. It is only two full sentence comprised in this poem which has no rhyme

scheme at all. Neither speaker nor narrator is involved in this poem, but only focus on a

willow tree at a riverside which is the setting of this poem, initiating the theme of death.

During the end of summer, the willow tree’s leaves neither fall nor turn into orange or

crimson as they should. However, their color becomes paler as the willow tree aged. Those

leaves hold on to the tree, swinging over the swirling water of the river like they do not want

to let go of the tree. Without awareness of the winter, the leaves eventually let go and fell

down to the water and the ground. The characteristic of the leaves can be seen in line (3-5),

“from which no leaf has fallen/ nor bitten by the sun/ turned orange or crimson”. This

represents their reluctant to be changed despite the autumn since their color has not turned

orange or red as they should’ve been naturally. The author personifies the leaves on the

willow tree as humans who are loath of change in their lives. He implies that the leaves are

unwilling to let go although summer is over and autumn has come. Summer can be

represented as remaining alive, while winter represented as the end of the life. The leaves

kept holding on to the willow tree as they grow paler by time according to the line (6-9),

“The leaves cling and grow paler,/ swing and grow paler/ over the swirling waters of the

river/ as if loath to let go,”. The streaming river represents the flow of time through changes.

The word “loath” emphasizes the leaves unwillingness to let go. As time goes by, things

change and nothing could interrupt this process. Even though the leaves avoid changing

color, they cannot avoid being older. William indicates that although the leaves reluctant to

let go, they fall into the water and on the ground sooner or later according to the line 12-14,
Nataphan Soontornworasate (Sand)
English 1208

“oblivious to winter,/ the last to let go and fall/ into the water and on the ground.” The falling

of leaves is representing inescapable demise that eventually living things cannot stay

eternally. All things considered, William Carlos Williams uses the personification of leaves

to reflect that no life can avoid the coming death.

In the poem “Complaint”, William Carlos Williams uses imagery and irony to reflect

that parturition does not always bring delight to everyone. The poem Complaint is composed

of only single stanza with twenty-two lines. It portrays a life of the author who works as a

doctor. The setting of this poem is in winter during the night which initiates the solemn

atmosphere. In the middle of the night in winter, there is a man called by someone asking him

for a hand. After an arriving of him, it is a woman in the bed, giving birth to the tenth child.

He then offers compassion by picking the hair from her eyes. Through the name of

“Complaint,” it refers to the complaining of a man whose being is virtually tedious.

According to the poem in line 1, “They call me and I go,” the author expresses this phrase

with objective tone which can be assuming that it is expected for the man to be summoned

for a need of others. In spite of the fact that he does not willing to go, he still goes since it is

his responsibility to provide an assistance. In the line 2-4, “It is a frozen road/ past midnight,

a dust/ of snow caught/ in the rigid of wheeltracks,” although childbirth should be a merry

occasion, the author has illustrated picture in readers’ mind as a distress incident by utilizes

imagery in order to describe a snowy road during the night time. He also indicates that the

man is being forced to depart from his house to take the rough journey because of a birth of

someone. Williams describes “a great woman” experiencing a hardship during giving birth

through the use of imagery as stated in the line 9-14, “Here is a great woman/ on her side in

the bed./ She is sick,/ perhaps vomiting,/ perhaps laboring/ to give birth to.” This represents
Nataphan Soontornworasate (Sand)
English 1208

that childbirth suffering one’s life, therefore, she could not be completely contentedly as she

is in pain. In the line 15, “a tenth child. Joy! Joy!,” although it displays the celebration

moment, Williams makes use of the word “Joy” in a sarcastic manner to express the theme.

Since the man has been forced by his duty to satisfy the need of the woman, he could not be

taking any pleasure on the birth of the child but pretending to be. All in all, William Carlos

William creates a distress atmosphere through the use of imagery and irony to reveal that the

act of giving birth can cause distress.

Nataphan Soontornworasate (Sand)
English 1208

My friend

He is a dog,
my friend
blue eyes and black fur
Staring at me
I never want him
growl growl
in the night,
he growls
bite bite
in the daytime,
he bites me
i smile
he should not live
his name is depression
Nataphan Soontornworasate (Sand)
English 1208


The pastiche of William Carlos Williams which I wrote above reflects the feeling of

depression. I was inspired by Williams’ pieces of poetry.

The purpose of my poem is to express a thought about depression which represented

by the dog. I get depressed easily so this is the reason that I have researched lots about it. I try

to understand people who struggle with depression. It is about a person that got depression.

They symbolize it as a dog which they never want it to be living. It consists of one stanza

with fourteen lines. I try to use objective tone same as the beginning of the poem

“Complaint” by William Carlos Williams. Within my poem, I use various literary devices in

order to help illustrating the clearer image. First of all, I use enjambment and irony for

creating mood. Second of all, imagery, symbolism, persona, and repetition can generate

picture in readers’ mind. I symbolize the dog as depression that he always make the owner

suffer. Moreover, in the phrase “blue eyes and black fur”, the use of imagery help me to

create a picture of the dog which I try to not include any emotion to make it as objective as

possible. The words “my friend” and “smile” are used in sarcastic manner that the person

does not really mean the dog is their friend but to reveal how intimacy of them to the dog.

Plus, smile does not really mean that the person smiles; in fact, they need to pretend.

The goal of writing this poem is to learn and practice the new way of writing poem

that is tend to be not abstract but unique. Additionally, to understand more about literary

devices that Williams uses in his poem and be able to know the role of each devices.

According to my poem, variety of literary devices is used all over the poem in order to make

readers understand the main idea of the poem, and make the context more fluent.

The part that surprised me most after studying Williams’ poems is modernism. I like

how he writes the “Complaint” and “This is Just To Say” just like a storytelling which I
Nataphan Soontornworasate (Sand)
English 1208

enjoy reading it. The way he separating lines makes the poem flow fluently and easier to

understand. However, there is some of details that I do not understand what he is really trying

to convey. After writing the poem, I noticed that it is not easy. There are various meanings

within one poem that Williams wrote which several times, it is not what it actually looks like.

Thus, my style of poem is influenced by Williams, which I try to make my poem comes out

like his whether by using literary devices that he used or illustrate tone of poem. I noticed that

William Carlos Williams uses imagery, irony, and repetition in “Complaint” to express the

theme. Therefore, in my poem, I also use those literary devices. He uses persona to convey

the story within his poem and mine use as well. At the beginning of the poem “Complaint”, I

try to use objective tone same as Williams did. Besides, I use imagery and repetition to make

readers visual more clearly picture along the poem.

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