Peter Halter: On "The Widow's Lament in Springtime"

In another spring poem, "The Widow's Lament in Springtime," in which the confrontation with the awakening life is extremely painful because it throws the woman back on her own deprivation, this confrontation culminates in the experience of the overwhelming whiteness of the blossoming trees. . .

A white that rouses the desire to merge with it and get lost in it is experienced as an extreme: Oppositions fuse, ecstasy leads to oblivion and annihilation, the color of joy turns - as in China - into the color of mourning. In Williams's poems, writes James E. Breslin, "'[c]rowds are white,' the sea is dark: immersion in either gives relief, a union with One, but halts the cyclic process of renewal." Kandinsky in turn writes: "White is a symbol of a world from which all colors as material attributes have disappeared. The world is too far above us for its structure to touch our souls. There comes a great silence which materially represented is like a cold, indestructible wall going on into the infinite. White, therefore, acts upon our psyche as a great, absolute silence, like the pauses in music that temporarily break the melody.... White has the appeal of nothingness that is before birth"

Peter Halter. From The Revolution in the Visual Arts and the Poetry of William Carlos Williams. Copyright © 1994 by Cambridge University Press.


Title Peter Halter: On "The Widow's Lament in Springtime" Type of Content Criticism
Criticism Author Criticism Target William Carlos Williams
Criticism Type Poet Originally Posted 14 Oct 2015
Publication Status Excerpted Criticism Publication The Revolution in the Visual Arts and the Poetry of William Carlos Williams
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