William Carlos Williams

April 20, 2010

In his poem, “Landscape with the Fall of Icarus”, William Carlos Williams was making a simple observation about life.  Even if something catastrophic is happining to you, chances are others are going about their day. Line 18, “a splash quite unnoticed” shows that if it doesn’t happen on top of them, people are not likely to notice it.  I think this is true.  However, just because someone does not notice something right away does not mean they do not care about it at all.  The farmer in the painting may have been very unhappy when he found out that Icarus had drowned, we only see what is happening in the moment of the painting.  It is a snapshot of a second in time, it does not tell the whole story.  I think Williams’ view may be a bit bleak, but his poem does not say that no one ever mourned Icarus, only that they did not notice the moment of his passing.  The lines, “the whole pagentry of the year was awake tingling near” shows that things end even in spring, the time of beginnings and new life.

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