William Carlos Williams

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When I am alone I am happy.
The air is cool. The sky is
flecked and splashed and wound
with color. The crimson phalloi
of the sassafras leaves
hang crowded before me
in shoals on the heavy branches.
When I reach my doorstep
I am greeted by
the happy shrieks of my children
and my heart sinks.
I am crushed.

Are not my children as dear to me
as falling leaves or
must one become stupid
to grow older?
It seems much as if Sorrow
had tripped up my heels.
Let us see, let us see!
What did I plan to say to her
when it should happen to me
as it has happened now?

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  • vernonsleigh30

    Wow, this bit of poetry really struck a chord with me. It's both hopeful with the imagery of autumn leaves and clouds, and also quite grounded with its sense of melancholy. The poet's struggle with balancing time alone and time with children... I guess as we age, happiness takes different forms. It changes from solitary peace to chaotic joy. Gotta say sometimes the words are a bit over my head, but I do feel the poet's emotion. Bitter-sweet and all too real.

    • LV123

      I just read this poem and it's filled with a lot of feelings. There's joy in solitude and yet a sadness when breaking that solitude with loved ones. Growing older does seem like it adds another layer on emotions we feel. It's not always easy to understand everything the poet meant, but the underlying sense of autumn, family and aging is haunting and beautiful.