Sunday, August 17, 2014

Poem of the Day: "The Widow's Lament in Springtime" by William Carlos Williams, Poet of the Month

The Songs of Eretz Poem of the Day for August 17, 2014 is "The Widow's Lament in Springtime" by William Carlos Williams, Poet of the Month.  The poem was taken from The Collected Poems of William Carlos Williams, Volume 1: 1909 - 1939.  The text of the poem, as well as an audio recording of it by the poet, may be found here:  http://www.poetryfoundation.org/poetrymagazine/poem/4671.  A brief biography of Williams and references may be found here:  http://eretzsongs.blogspot.com/2014/08/the-songs-of-eretz-poet-of-month-for.html.

As a physician, Williams no doubt treated many widows and observed firsthand their profound sense of loss.  Writing from the POV of a widow, Williams uses his abilities as both physician and poet to capture a sense of what psychiatrists call "anhedonia," a loss of interest in things that once provided pleasure--a hallmark of major depression.  He also captures another symptom of profound depression--suicidal ideation. 

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