in response to William Carlos Williams

 

Beginning years ago, Marge Pellegrino has inspired and encouraged me to write. I had the privilege of participating in one of her workshops this week, and this is the result of one of the exercises…

Pastoral
By William Carlos Williams

When I was younger
it was plain to me
I must make something of myself.
Older now
I walk back streets
admiring the houses
of the very poor:
roof out of line with sides
the yards cluttered
with old chicken wire, ashes,
furniture gone wrong;
the fences and outhouses
built of barrel staves
and parts of boxes, all,
if I am fortunate,
smeared a bluish green
that properly weathered
pleases me best of all colors.
No one
will believe this
of vast import to the nation.

It takes a moment of reflection;
a moment to choose to absorb the emotion
of a certain time and space
to appreciate what is of true value in the world.
What is progress?
What is productivity?
Only a certain person’s perception.
What is purpose?
Now that is a better question to ask
for purpose transcends
both progress and productivity.
Neither of these exist in a moment;
both must rest on the past and the future,
but purpose —
purpose simply is.
It does not rely on what has been
or what is to come,
but rather it defines that which is
as well as that which was
and that which will be.

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