William Carlos Williams

The Visit

I have committed many errors
but I warn --- the interplay
is not the tossed body. Though
the mind is subtler than the sea,
advancing at three speeds,
the fast, the medium and the slow,
recapitulating at every ninth
wave what was not at first directly
stated, that is still only
on the one level.

                           There are the fish
and at the bottom, the ground,
no matter whether at five feet
or five miles, the ground, revealing,
when bared by the tides, living
barnacles, hungry on the rocks
as the mind is, that hiss as often
loudly when the sun bites them.

And I acknowledge, the mind is
still (though rarely) more than
its play. I can see also
the dagger in the left hand when
the right strikes. It does
not alter the case.

Let us resume. The
naive may be like a sunny day
and is not to be despised
because it is so amusing to see
the zigzag and slender gulls
into the featureless surface.
It is fish they are after,
fish --- and get them.
                             Still I
acknowledge the sea is there and
I admire its profundity only
what does that amount to?
Love also may be deep, deep
as thought, deeper than thought
and as sequential ---
full of detail, let us say, as
the courts are full of law
and the sea, weeds and
as murmurous: that does not
alter the case either. Yet you
are right in the end: law 
often decides cases. Well?
I prefer to go back to my cases
at the hospital.

Say I am less an artist
than a spadeworker but one
who has no aversion to taking
his spade to the head
of any who would derogate
his performance in the craft.

You were kind to be at such
pains with me and --- thanks
for the view.

spoken = Leon Branton