William Carlos Williams

Three Winter Poems

William Carlos Williams, U.S. Passport photo, 1921.


Again I reply to the triple winds
running chromatic fifths of derision
outside my window:
Play louder.
You will not succeed. I am
bound more to my sentences
the more you batter at me
to follow you.
And the wind,
as before, fingers perfectly
its derisive music.



Approach of Winter

The half-stripped trees
struck by a wind together,
bending all,
the leaves flutter drily
and refuse to let go
or driven like hail
stream bitterly out to one side
and fall
where the salvias, hard carmine,—
like no leaf that ever was—
edge the bare garden.



Winter Trees

All the complicated details
of the attiring and
the disattiring are completed!
A liquid moon
moves gently among
the long branches.
Thus having prepared their buds
against a sure winter
the wise trees
stand sleeping in the cold.


All poems in public domain.


For more on this poet, please see excerpts of Reed Whittemore’s William Carlos Williams Centennial Lecture, “The Happy Genius of the Household,” also in this issue.



William Carlos Williams (September 17, 1883 - March 4, 1963) published 46 books during his lifetime, winning such major recognition as a Pulitzer Prize in Poetry, a Bolligen Award, a National Book Award, and an Academy of American Poets Fellowship. In 1952, he was named Consultant in Poetry to the Library of Congress in Washington, DC, although ill health forced him to relinquish the appointment. To learn more about this author: To read more about this author, see Dan Vera's "The Library and its Laureates: The Examples of Auslander, Williams, Dickey & Kumin"