NaPoMo: The Great Figure

Did you know that April is National Poetry Month? Well it is.  I thought I would share a poem from one of my favorite poets, William Carlos Williams.  Supposedly, Williams wrote this poem after seeing a fire engine streaking past him on its way to a fire. I love the way he is so spare and so economical and yet manages to convey so much.

“The Great Figure”

Among the rain
and lights
I saw the figure 5
in gold
on a red
fire truck
moving
tense
unheeded
to gong clangs
siren howls
and wheels rumbling
through the dark city.

And of course I would be remiss if I did not also include this painting by Charles Demuth, inspired by his friend’s poem:

I Saw the Figure Five in Gold
I Saw the Figure Five in Gold

If I think of it, I’ll do more poem entries during the rest of April.  We shall see!

3 thoughts on “NaPoMo: The Great Figure

  1. clarabella April 16, 2009 / 10:25 pm

    Here’s my favorite (as it is many others’):

    This Is Just To Say

    I have eaten
    the plums
    that were in
    the icebox

    and which
    you were probably
    saving
    for breakfast

    Forgive me
    they were delicious
    so sweet
    and so cold

    I used this format recently to tell Philly I had smoked all his cigarettes. I think he was amused at my format but disappointed in the consequence. Sigh. I love WCW. He is mos def a poetry BF.

  2. John April 17, 2009 / 1:18 am

    I have a Canadian-centric poem that I find appropriate what with the coming of yet another move for me. It’s not got any deep meaning, it’s pretty straight-forward.


    Though unto the ends of the world fate lures us wide and far,

    Our heart’s with the land of the pine, our home with the Northern Star,
    And tho’ we have housed with strangers, and journeyed by sea and land,
    We are ever the sons of the North, as the world shall understand.

    Not easy of speech are we with you, for whom we feign no art,
    And if little our lip has spoken, you know how full our heart;

    So work, we shall work for you, till the name that is ours be yours;
    Work, we shall work, knowing well we stand while the North endures.

    With a faith as the faith of children, and the hunger of homeless men,
    Awaiting the time we northward turn, tho’ we know not how nor when.
    We, Canadians to the heart-core, Canadian, blood and bone,
    We yet shall turn to our home-land, and some day know our own.”

    Arthur J. Stringer.

  3. Alfina the Vague April 17, 2009 / 9:11 pm

    C – Oh, I love that one too. WCW is the best.

    J – very patriotic! Are you feeling a bit homesick?

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