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
The Uses of Poetry
I've fond anticipation of a day O'erfilled with pure diversion presently, For I must read a lady poesy The while we glide by many a leafy bay, Hid deep in rushes, where at random play The glossy black winged May-flies, or whence flee Hush-throated nestlings in alarm, Whom we have idly frighted with our boat's long sway. For, lest o'ersaddened by such woes as spring To rural peace from our meek onward trend, What else more fit? We'll draw the latch-string And close the door of sense; then satiate wend, On poesy's transforming giant wing, To worlds afar whose fruits all anguish mend.