The Figure 5-A Weekend Poem By William Carlos Williams & A Photo

The Great Figure

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

William Carlos Williams

I like Charles Demuth’s fidelity to the original, and use of imagist-imagination. The figure 5 comprises such an important part of the poem.

A little more broadly…

Imagism was a sub-genre of Modernism concerned with creating clear imagery with sharp language. The essential idea was to re-create the physical experience of an object through words. As with all of Modernism, Imagism implicitly rejected Victorian poetry, which tended toward narrative.


The most exemplified phase of Modernism, referred to as “High Modernism,” occurred during the inter-war years (1918-1939). This was the time when writers synonymous with Modernism, such as Virginia Woolf, James Joyce, T.S. Eliot, and D.H. Lawrence, thrived. While Victorians typically concerned themselves with rendering reality as they understood it into fiction, Modernists recognized that reality was subjective, and instead strove to represent human psychology in fiction.

During the post-war years, the confessionals, with a fair amount of free and blank verse became dominant, with a kind of feelings-first, psychological exploration of the (S)elf.

Dear Reader, this photograph represents the closest I’ve gotten to elements of the modernist imagination so far. I hope you enjoy. The Straussian movement pushes back to a kind of classicist revival, an embrace of tradition, and rejection of much modernity.

***On second-thought, the photo of these parts of very real thing is abstracted into a kind of modernesque design.

Fire Truck Mirrors & A Bit Of Sky

Seattle Photo-Postcard City & Ye Olde English Shoppe

In a naturally-induced, mildly Romantic dream-state, I learned Seattle and Tacoma combined comprise the 4th-largest container gateway in North America.

Like a cloud myself, and like a bird below the clouds, I moved through hanging gardens of rain. I landed on a ledge to warm my wings. I shook and cried and became the building, expanding as the sun warmed each stone.

Partly because of death, love and taxes, partly because some people are forever beating themselves, others, and a confession from the English language, I went looking for the most blue-green grove of late summer I could find.

Somewhere where they just say the sounds of words, and words mean things. Things like deep sorrow and joy, car and ship and tooth. Words full of wisdom and words tied to memory and words seeking each moment as it passes, welcoming truth.


I’ll take the West African blue note, and this green, green English. Follow the link to YouTube, alas.

As for 80’s pop, and the New-Romantic synth sound, it’s got an older groove:

Looking for ye Olde English Shoppe: