Queen Anne's Lace

Her body is not so white as
anemone petals nor so smooth--nor
so remote a thing. It is a field
of the wild carrot taking
thefield by force; the grass
does not raise above it.
Here is no question of whiteness,
white as can be, with a purple mole
at the center of each flower.
Each flower is a hand's span
of her whiteness. Wherever
his hand has lain there is
a tiny purple blossom under his touch
to which the fibres of her being
stem one by one, each to its end,
until the whole field is a
white desire, empty, a single stem,
a cluster, flower by flower,
a pious wish to whiteness gone over--
or nothing.

by William Carlos Williams

Comments (2)

Critics and professors take on literature like it is a treasure map and its words are difficult codes that must be broken to understand the poet. Hate to carry my flag of individualism out on this cultural battlefield, but a poet or a novelist should speak both plainly and somewhat mysteriously to his audience. If his work is too simple- yawn. If his work is too difficult to understand- yawn. For me this poem compares a woman to a flower in a romantic sensual way. It is beautiful, it is natural, it is part of the natural scheme of life.
Line 12 is incorrect.