Spring and All

Spring and All is an omniscient description of a road and the fields surrounding it. The poem begins with the recognition of the road: it is the “road to the contagious hospital”. Williams was a doctor for a large portion of his life, perhaps he recreated this scene from an experience he had while he was in medicine. Nevertheless, the reader immediately receives a sense of bitterness. It is a “contagious” hospital or a place where people with contagious diseases are sent. These hospitals were invariably prevalent in the 20th century as medicine was not nearly at the same degree of excellence as it is now. This place of frequent death becomes surrounded by more gloomy elements as the poem progresses. “blue mottled clouds”, “cold winds”, and a “waste of broad muddy fields brown with dried weeds standing and falling” enter the scene to further galvanize the sense of bleakness. In the following Williams indicates a sense of life by telling of “reddish” and “purplish” twigs. However, the place is still devoid of life, the colors are marked by an “ish” at the end telling that they still are dull. After giving a shimmering sign of life, the spectator notices how under the bushes there are “dead, brown leaves”. Then, a “lifeless… sluggish” spring comes. Soon they, or plants, “enter the world naked”, however the plants are surrounded by a cold but familiar wind. At this stage, Williams has begun to brighten up the scene; now life has appeared and although they are bare, plants appear. Soon more growth emerges: “grass”, “wildcarrot”, and “one by one objects are defined”. At the end of the poem the plants finally strengthen as they “grip down”, also life enters once the plants “begin to awaken”.

This poem is a simple description of the seasons. However, Williams has put nature under the microscope to portray the implications of changing seasons. Williams personifies the plants to further describe the how nature is affected by the seasons. Through the wildlife, one can find a gloomy description of the seasons. Williams paints winter as a time of utter gloominess. Spring is first depicted as stolid and static, however Williams leaves the reader with a hope of vitalization when the plants “begin to awaken”. In total, Williams crafts a poem with a form of transcendentalism never seen. Rather than romanticizing nature, Williams explores pointing out the melancholy aspects of nature. As a result, Williams created a new form that played a role in the modernism movement in poetry.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *