The pure products of America go crazy— mountain folk from Kentucky or the ribbed north end of Jersey with its isolate lakes and valleys, its deaf-mutes, thieves old names and promiscuity between devil-may-care men who have taken to railroading out of sheer lust of adventure— and young slatterns, bathed in filth from Monday to Saturday to be tricked out that night with gauds from imaginations which have no peasant traditions to give them character but flutter and flaunt sheer rags-succumbing without emotion save numbed terror under some hedge of choke-cherry or viburnum- which they cannot express— Unless it be that marriage perhaps with a dash of Indian blood will throw up a girl so desolate so hemmed round with disease or murder that she'll be rescued by an agent— reared by the state and sent out at fifteen to work in some hard-pressed house in the suburbs— some doctor's family, some Elsie— voluptuous water expressing with broken brain the truth about us— her great ungainly hips and flopping breasts addressed to cheap jewelry and rich young men with fine eyes as if the earth under our feet were an excrement of some sky and we degraded prisoners destined to hunger until we eat filth while the imagination strains after deer going by fields of goldenrod in the stifling heat of September Somehow it seems to destroy us It is only in isolate flecks that something is given off No one to witness and adjust, no one to drive the car
William Carlos Williams - 1883-1963
My townspeople, beyond in the great world, are many with whom it were far more profitable for me to live than here with you. These whirr about me calling, calling! and for my own part I answer them, loud as I can, but they, being free, pass! I remain! Therefore, listen! For you will not soon have another singer. First I say this: you have seen the strange birds, have you not, that sometimes rest upon our river in winter? Let them cause you to think well then of the storms that drive many to shelter. These things do not happen without reason. And the next thing I say is this: I saw an eagle once circling against the clouds over one of our principal churches— Easter, it was—a beautiful day! three gulls came from above the river and crossed slowly seaward! Oh, I know you have your own hymns, I have heard them— and because I knew they invoked some great protector I could not be angry with you, no matter how much they outraged true music— You see, it is not necessary for us to leap at each other, and, as I told you, in the end the gulls moved seaward very quietly.