help me, william carlos williams, you’re my only hope

On Friday Salome said: “I love Claire. But this whole Why? thing she has going? Totally exhausting.”

It’s Sunday. Claire, Julia and I are heading home from Yerba Buena on the J.

C: I want my pony bag!

Her handbag with a pony in it is clipped to my diaper bag. I unclip it and give it to her.

C: I want the clip!

R: You may not have it.

C: Whyyyy?

R (Oh God, not this again): Because so much depends upon it.

C: Whyyyyyyyy?

R: so much depends

a red wheel

glazed with rain

beside the white


C: What was that?

R: A poem.

C: Poe-wim?

R: Yes. Would you like to hear another one?

C: Yes.

I do Yeats’ Epitaph, Blake’s The Tyger and a little bit of Full Fathom Five, but she is most taken with The Tyger and has to have it repeated 90,000 times. We do a little textual deconstruction, then discuss the nature of poetry and its relationship to memory.

R: … so a good poem can make us remember and feel things.

C: Why?

R: Well, we don’t really know everything about how language and the human brain work together. Maybe when you’re big you could be an English professor or a cognitive psychologist or a neuroscientist, and find things out.


C (gravely): I want to find things out.

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