Spring and All

W.C. Williams




o meager times, so fat in everything imaginable ! imagine the New World that rises to our windows from the sea on Mondays and Saturdays – and on every other day of the week also. Imagine that in all its prismatic colourings, its counterpart in our souls – our souls that are great pianos whose strings, of honey and steel, the divisions of the rainbow set twanging, loosing on the air great novels of adventure ! Imagine the monster project of the moment : Tomorrow we the people of the United States are going to Europe armed to kill every man, woman and child in the area west of the Carpathian Mountains (also east) sparing none. Imagine the sensation it will cause. First we shall kill them and then they, us. But we are careful to spare the Spanish bulls, the birds, the rabbits, small deer and of course, the Russians. For the Russians we shall build a bridge from edge to edge of the Atlantic – having first been at pains to slaughter all Canadians and Mexicans on this side. Then, oh then, the great feature will take place.


Never Mind ; the great event may not exist, so there is no need to speak further of it. Kill ! Kill ! the English, the Irish, the French the Germans, the Italians and the rest : friends or enemies, it makes no difference, kill them all. The bridge is to be blown up when all Russia is upon it. And why ?

Because we love them – all. That is the secret : a new sort of murder. We will make leberwurst of them. Bratwurst. But why, since we are ourselves doomed to suffer the same annihilation?


If I could say what it is in my mind in Sanskrit or even Latin I would do so. But I cannot. I speak for the integrity of the soul and the greatness of life’s inanity: the formality if its boredom ; the orthodoxy of its stupidity. Kill ! kill ! let there be fresh meat…


The imagination, intoxicated by prohibitions, rises to drunken heights to destroy the world. Let it rage, let it kill. The imagination is supreme. To it all our works forever, from the remotest past to the farthest future, have been, are and will be dedicated. To it alone we show our wit by having raised in its honour as monument not the least pebble. To it now we come to dedicate our secret project : the annihilation of every human creature of the face of the earth. This is something never before attempted. None to remain : nothing but the lower vertebrates, the mollusks, insects and plants. Then at last will the world be made anew. Houses crumble to ruin, cities disappear giving place to mounds of soil blown thither by the winds, small bushes and grass give way to trees which grow old and are succeeded by other trees for countless generations. A marvelous serenity broken only by bird and wild beast calls reign over the entire sphere. Order and peace abound.


This final and self-inflicted holocaust has been all for love, for sweetest love, that together the human race, yellow, black, brown, red and white, agglutinated to one enormous soul may be gratified with the site and retire to the heaven of heavens content to rest on its laurels. There, the soul of souls, watching its own horrid unity, it boils and digests itself within the great tissues of the great Being of Eternity that we shall then have become. With what magnificent explosions and odours will not the day be accomplished as we, the Great One among all creatures, shall go about contemplating our self-prohibited desires as we promenade them before the inward review and it is spring – both in Latin and in Turkish, in English and in Dutch, in Japanese and Italian : it is spring by Stinking River where a magnolia tree, without leaves, before what was once a farmhouse, now a ramshackle home for millworkers, raises its straggling branches of ivorywhite flowers.