Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Love Song

Love Song

I lie here thinking of you:---

the stain of love
is upon the world!
Yellow, yellow, yellow
it eats into the leaves,
smears with saffron
the horned branched the lean
against a smooth purple sky!
There is no light
only a honey-thick stain
that drips from leaf to leaf
and limb to limb
spoiling the colors
of the whole world-

you far off there under
the wine-red selvage of the west!

William Carlos Williams


  1. When reading the title, we often associate a love song as something jaunty, pleasureable, and celebrating, or its other extreme, regretting, nostalgic, and full of pity for the singer’s troubles in love. With Williams the singer, the main idea revolves around the concept of an incomplete union in first person point of view, which makes the reading more personal as the reader is using I instead you or he. From this concept stem the ideas that this poem is about hopelessness or happiness, communal sex or masturbation. Delving into history, literary techniques, association with the author, and own opinion of it, there is easily more to it than meets the eye.
    My first and immediate explanation for the poem was an address from one lover to a loved one, where distance became a factor in their relationship. The lover has it far worse than the desired partner and the solitude builds nothing but longing for this person at a time when his love is the greatest. He says " What have I to say to you when we shall meet?... I am alone" with my head knocked against the sky”. He further asks, “How can I tell if I shall ever love you again as I do now?” There is uncertainty because he is wondering over the next encounter with his loved one. He says, “I lie here thinking of you” and is compelling when he wants the loved one to see him in the 5th stanza and what love is doing to his state of mind. He is hopeless and expresses it by asking questions he is unsure of, conveying his troubled state. Williams enforces imagery along with sound effects to demonstrate the despair of the man in a realm that is almost dreamlike with purple skies,spoiled colors, and birds. Stating he is alone and that his head collides with the sky may underline the man’s confusion. He also uses imagery in the “stain of love as it eats into the leaves”, and saffron horned branches, vivid and easy-to-imagine images that captivate the reader. The line stating “a smooth purple sky” and this stain which is “spoiling the colours of the whole world” easily formulate a very distinct picture. Through consonance words like “eats” and “smears with saffron” become fiercer in the eyes of this lover as they cancel out a “smooth sky”.
    For those who disagree, it also appears to be about a lover who perceives the world through love which he finds in sunlight. Again through imagery, the yellow stain is the sun’s rays and the purple sky describes a sun set. The colors of the sun are ‘eating’ into leaves and branches with vibrant colors as yellow creeps from leaf to leaf and tree limb to tree limb. This all makes sense seeing Williams’ use of this poem in his 1936 play “A Dream of Love”. In the play Doc, the main character and husband, says “ I wrote this when we were first married. You were away and I thinking of you. It was just sunset and I was looking toward the horizon where I knew you to be.” The wife cried out in joy and told him she adored him.
    Funny thing is, if the play is read more in depth, it tells the story of a troubled marriage, a neglected wife, and a man. Doc used his poetry to ease the tension of a fight with his wife. Doc had a mistress and all of his wife’s reasons for feeling denied were accurate. What does this say about Williams’ view toward the poem? Ending it “How can I tell if I shall ever love you again as I do now?” may imply a doubt in whether Doc will love his wife in the future. It is about an imperfect union, which was well used to describe the marriage in A Dream of Love.


  2. beautiful background. front are to small. very good commentary